This is the post where I play the WWE Ambassador for Chicago.
I would love for WrestleMania to be in Chicago, but the average temperature here that time of year (let’s use this year’s Mania date of April 2nd) is 44 degrees, with a record low of 18 in 1899, and a record high of 82 in 1963.
WrestleMania is always a big arena show, and we don’t have an indoor facility with a a seating capacity that could handle the demand. So, with WrestleMania off of the table, I look to another one of “The Big Four” (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Summerslam, Survivor Series), Summerslam. Summerslam has not run in a large arena since 1992 at Wembley Stadium in London, England. WWE is currently in the third year of a three-year deal with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to run a Saturday night NXT Takeover show, a Sunday night Summerslam, Monday night RAW, and Tuesday night Smackdown. The Barclays Center is not a large arena, with last year’s sold out Summerslam hosting a crowd of 15,974. Now, here’s why Chicago should be the next city to host Summerslam.
- Charles Barkley called Chicago “the best summer city in the world”
- Wrigley Field: The best building in all of sports. Home to the 2016 World Heavyweight Champion Chicago Cubs. Wrigley Field doesn’t only host baseball games, though. In 2011, Paul McCartney brought 83,998 fans to Wrigley Field over 2 nights. In 2012, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band brought 84,218 fans out. From the highest “cheap seats”in the stadium you can see Lake Michigan.
- Soldier Field: In 2015, the Grateful Dead drew 212,608 fans over three nights to Soldier Field (70,764 on a Friday, 70,844 Saturday, 71,000 on Sunday). Those are WrestleMania-worthy capacity numbers. Of course, WWE’s staging probably takes up more room, so maybe U2’s previous 2009 record of 67,936 would be a better comp for pro wrestling capacity.
- A City of Neighborhoods could showcase several in one weekend: How about this: NXT Takeover at Wintrust Arena at McCormick Square (DePaul’s new stadium opening Fall of 2017) or UIC Pavilion, Summerslam at Wrigley Field or Soldier Field, RAW at Allstate Arena, Smackdown at United Center. I understand switching venues that much could be very messy, so if you made me pick two, I’d go with Wrigley Field and United Center. You make me pick one? It’s gotta be Wrigley.
- International Airport for International Fans: O’Hare Airport
- It could be the WWE’s last best chance to make a play at CM Punk to come back for a return match.