On Tuesday, news broke that Patrick Talty has been hired as the General Manager of Minnesotas new Multi-Purpose Stadium (colloquially known as the Vikings Stadium). The $1.1 billion stadium is set to open in the summer of 2016 and will host Minnesota Vikings NFL games. Although the stadium is still under construction, Minneapolis has already been selected to host the Super Bowl in February 2018. The GM appointment is especially interesting because of Mr. Talty's previous position- he was the Senior Vice President of Live Events for WWE. That's a position that he has held since May 2012. Now, with an former employee in a key position, many have speculated that there's a stronger possibility that WWE may consider Minnesota for a future WrestleMania. In fact, in recent years, WWE has shared many WrestleMania locations with Super Bowl hosts: Santa Clara, CA Levis Stadium - hosting WrestleMania in 2015 and will be hosting the Super Bowl in 2016. New Orleans, LA Mercedes-Benz SuperDome - hosted WrestleMania in 2014 and hosted the Super Bowl in 2013. East Rutherford, NJ MetLife Stadium - hosted WrestleMania in 2013 and hosted the Super Bowl in 2014. Miami, FL Sun Life Stadium - hosted WrestleMania in 2012 and hosted the Super Bowl in 2010. Atlanta, GA Georgia Dome - hosted WrestleMania in 2011 and hosted the Super Bowl in 2000. Phoenix, AZ University of Phoenix Stadium - hosted WrestleMania in 2010 and hosted the Super Bowl in 2008. Houston, TX NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant Stadium) - hosted WrestleMania in 2009 and will be hosting the Super Bowl in 2017. In my assessment, Talty leaves behind a mixed bag when it comes to WWE Live Events. Year Avg. NA Attendance Avg. Int'l Attendance 2007 6,600 7,700 2008 6,400 8,500 2009 6,500 8,500 2010 6,300 7,800 2011 6,000 6,700 2012 5,900 6,000 2013 6,000 5,900 2013 Q4 - 2014 Q3 6,000 5,900 WWE attendance has been steadily hovering around 6,000. It's been remarkable flat as during the last three years as North American average attendance has neither increased or decreased. However, international attendance has dropped from 7,500-8,500 per show (2007-2010) to 6,000 per show (2012-2014) which is troubling. Moreover, WWE has actually cut back on the total number of live events they've run overseas in recent years. On the flip side, live event revenue derived from the 230 annual events run in the United States and Canada has been growing steadily. Talty can also point to the addition of new travel packages for big pay-per-view events (such as WrestleMania) and introduction of more premium tickets (including "meet & greets") options for WWE shows. Another accomplishment for Talty was booking the first WWE tour of Abu Dhabi in Febuary 2012. They returned in October 2013 and have another set of shows booked for February 2015. Talty was likely instrumental in this deal as his prior employer (before WWE) was the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. With this in mind, it seems very logical that Talty's new job in Minneapolis would lead the city to at least make a bid to host WrestleMania at some point in the near future. With strong wrestling roots via Verne Gagne's AWA, there could be some interesting territorial candidates for a Midwest-centric Hall of Fame ceremony. WrestleMania has been held in the Midwestern United States before including shows in Michigan (WM 3, WM 23), Chicago (WM 2, WM 13, WM 22) and Indianapolis (WM 8). Still, some wonder whether Minnesota's notorious winter would be a deterrent to any fans looking to make WrestleMania a vacation weekend. One wonders whether WWE would try to include wrestlers with strong Minnesota connections for a Minneapolis WrestleMania - namely former University of Minnesota all-star wrestler Brock Lesnar? While speculation runs wild, WWE has been tight-lipped on the next set of WrestleMania location announcements. Some expect that an enormous stadium such as AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (where the Dallas Cowboys play) may soon play host should WWE believe they could book a main event that would truly fill the building. With the introduction of the WWE Network, there's always the interesting possibility that WWE may again hold one of their pay-per-view events overseas. The most likely candidate would be holding an event in the United Kingdom which has been the largest market for the WWE outside of North America.
I'm a professional wrestling analyst, an improviser and an avid NES gamer. I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and I'm working on my first book (#wrestlenomics). You can contact me at email@example.com or on twitter (@mookieghana)