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  1. Sports

WrestleMania 36 is coming to Tampa in 2020

The WWE’s signature event will be held at Raymond James Stadium
Roman Reigns, top, locks up Big Show during the WWE Wrestlemania 29 wrestling event, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. WWE officials will announce Thursday that Wrestlemania 36 is coming to Tampa in April 2020. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) [MEL EVANS | AP]

World Wrestling Entertainment and bay area officials are set to make a joint announcement at an 11 a.m. news conference Thursday in Tampa.

The Tampa Bay Times has learned they’ll formally announce Raymond James Stadium as the site of WrestleMania 36 on April 5, 2020.

The announcement comes 10 months after the Tampa Bay Sports Commission (TBSC) confirmed it had submitted a bid last May to host a WrestleMania in 2023, ’24 or ’25.

Widespread reports on industry and local web sites recently have indicated that Tampa had been selected to host WWE’s signature event ― the de facto Super Bowl of professional wrestling ― for ’20. Officials from both the WWE and TBSC have remained mum on those reports.

Tampa never previously has hosted a WrestleMania, which often attracts live crowds of more than 50,000 as well as a sizable pay-per-view (and WWE Network) audience, and can generate $150-175 million in economic impact on the host community. It has been held in Florida three times (Orlando in 2008 and ’17, Miami in ’12).

The main event of the first WrestleMania in 1985 featured two performers with local ties: Robinson High alumnus Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan) and former Brandon High/University of Tampa football star Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff. Also prominent on the card was Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, who graduated from Boca Ciega.

It has since evolved into a weeklong celebration rife with ancillary events. Among them are WrestleMania Access (an immersive fan festival similar to the NFL’s Super Bowl Experience), the annual WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony and an NXT TakeOver event, showcasing the WWE’s third flagship brand.

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.