ST. PETERSBURG — WrestleMania is WWE’s premier annual event, but the Royal Rumble might be the global sports entertainment company’s most fun one.
Raymond James Stadium hosted WrestleMania in April 2021. Now, Tropicana Field will host the 37th Royal Rumble on Saturday, Jan. 27, WWE announced Wednesday morning.
Tickets are not yet on sale but those who want to attend can register for pre-sale opportunities.
“Tampa Bay has long been a terrific market for WWE,” John Porco, WWE’s executive vice president of live events, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to a fantastic schedule of events in January.”
Two days after the Royal Rumble, WWE’s Monday Night Raw will happen at Amalie Arena.
“Team Tampa Bay loved hosting WrestleMania 37 two years ago and we’re beyond excited to have the opportunity to collaborate again with our longtime friends at WWE,” said Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, also in a prepared statement. “Royal Rumble Weekend in January 2024 will be a phenomenal regional effort.”
The marquee attractions of the event are the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches.
Each includes 30 competitors who are eliminated when thrown over the top ring rope and their feet hit the floor. The last man and woman standing earn a championship match opportunity at the next WrestleMania, which will be held in April in Philadelphia.
But the fun of the matches is as much about anticipation as it is the action.
The Royal Rumble begins with two competitors. A new one is added every 90 seconds, with time ticking down on a countdown clock. And fans do not know who is next until the competitor’s theme music plays.
Surprise entrants are part of the tradition. Sometimes a competitor comes out of retirement for the match or returns from an injury. Other times, WWE signs a new star who debuts in the Royal Rumble.
Fans loudly count down the clock’s final seconds and chant for favorite wrestlers, erupting in cheers or boos for the contenders.
Caleb Peterson, senior business development manager of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, which helped bring the event to the area, said that he looks forward to welcoming the WWE fans.
Held in San Antonio, Texas, last year’s Royal Rumble was the most viewed and highest grossing ever, according to WWE. Its ticket sales totaled over $7.7 million, more than doubling the previous high from 2017.
The 2024 Royal Rumble will mark the third time it has been held in Tampa Bay, but the second in front of fans.
The 1995 Royal Rumble at the Yuengling Center, then known as the USF Sun Dome, included one of the event’s more iconic moments. After losing in a tag team match, WWE’s Bam Bam Bigelow took out his frustrations by pushing NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor, who was sitting in the front row. It led to national mainstream sports attention and a match between those two at WrestleMania.
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In 2021, it was also at Tropicana Field, but without a live crowd due to the pandemic.
“We are excited to welcome WWE back to Tropicana Field for the 2024 Royal Rumble,” Tampa Bay Rays president Matt Silverman said in a statement. “The Royal Rumble will provide first-class sports entertainment to both those seeing the action in person and watching as part of a worldwide television audience.”
If you want to go
To register for pre-sale opportunities, visit wwe.com/royalrumble-2024-presale.
Royal Rumble Priority Passes will also soon be available. These provide the chance to be ringside and meet the performers, plus exclusive merchandise and accommodations. Visit onlocationexp.com/royalrumble.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the venue of WrestleMania in 2021.