WrestleMania 23 ready to motor into Ford Field
Ford Field is prepared for WWE and WrestleMania 23 to motor into Detroit on April 1. The arena is an especially meaningful site for WrestleMania 23 because it's the 20th anniversary of WrestleMania III, which was held at the Detroit area Pontiac Silverdome. During the historic 1987 event, Hulk Hogan defeated Andre the Giant in front of a record-setting crowd of 93,173.
"What's most interesting is that for WrestleMania III at the Pontiac Silverdome, WWE really was a much smaller company at the time, a much smaller staff, yet we had this amazing event, which was Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, and all the other stars that were at WrestleMania III," said Basil DeVito, Senior Advisor, Television, for WWE.
"We had that enormous crowd, and while it was a good event and a great attraction, WrestleMania has become such a larger attraction and a better event over the years. … Detroit and that whole region really embraced us 20 years ago, so now I think we're coming back all grown up," DeVito said.
The city of Detroit, which is the United States' 11th most populous city with more than 880,000 residents, is busy preparing for WrestleMania 23. Matt Allen, press secretary for Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick, said Ford Field and Detroit is prepared for tens of thousands of WWE fans who will descend upon the Motor City in April.
"Ford Field is a beautiful place for any event, and the folks that come to WrestleMania 23 and to downtown Detroit are really going to enjoy Ford Field, and will enjoy a clean, vibrant and new downtown. People who are coming from out of state, or outside of the city, or outside of the region, are really going to see a downtown Detroit that they've never seen before. They're really going to enjoy themselves," Allen said.
Ford Field, which hosted the WrestleMania 23 press Fan Rally in July, also recently hosted Super Bowl XL. It is the home of the NFL's Detroit Lions, college football's annual Motor City Bowl and other major sporting events. The arena, which is more than 1.8 million square feet, cost $500 million to build and was completed in August 2002.
"It's fantastic to have a huge event such as WrestleMania 23 at Ford Field. We love the fact that people have the confidence in the city of Detroit to come here and host major, large events," Allen said. "The city of Detroit was pleased to host Super Bowl XL, the All-Star game, the North American International Auto Show -- giant venues that draw tens of thousands, and in the case of the Super Bowl, 100,000 outsiders to our region -- and if we host them in wintertime or in summertime, or in this case, springtime, we accommodate all their needs, and people leave here really smiling about the new city of Detroit."
Bob Collins, Senior Marketing Advisor at WWE, said WrestleMania 23 at Ford Field will be a magnificent, historic event for WWE and the WWE fans. It's not just by chance that Ford Field was chosen as the site for the special event.
"It certainly is going to bring to mind among WWE fans, and among the general population in Detroit, throughout the country and throughout the world, the historic event, WrestleMania III. At this point we don't know what the matches are going to be, but we do know WWE is going to pull out all the stops to make this the biggest WrestleMania of all time," Collins said.
According to FordField.com, the arena "is comprised of approximately 1.85 million square feet with four levels of suites, a level of club seating, and a ground level designated for restaurants, concessions and retail. … The $500 million complex boasts a seven-story atrium within the warehouse. At the end of the atrium (the southeast corner of the stadium) is a glass wall, which provides a picturesque view of the Detroit skyline."
"We chose Ford Field because it is such a phenomenal stadium," Collins said. "It is in Detroit, 20 years after WrestleMania III. It also helps us attract an international audience, because it's right on the border of United States and Canada. We expect tens of thousands of fans to be coming from Canada. We've already sold travel packages to our fans. And those travel packages have been sold to fans already in 20 different countries, 42 states and six different provinces. So we know it's going to be an international crowd, and the entire world will have access to tickets on Nov. 11 when they go on sale."
The Motor City and Ford Field are ready to welcome WWE fans of all ages from around the world to partake in the excitement of WrestleMania 23 in April. Allen encourages WWE fans to make themselves at home in Detroit.
"Ford Field is probably one of the most homey venues to see events take place. People really get a hometown feel out of it. It's really intimate setting for such a large venue. There's not a bad seat in the house," Allen said. "But if you're going to come down here for WrestleMania, you're going to have great seats, a great time, there's wonderful facilities, it's handicapped accessible. It's a great place for family events -- if you're going to bring your teenage or adolescent children along with you to WrestleMania 23 or if you're going to come down as a group of friends from college, you're going to have a great time. And that even carries out after you leave Ford Field. There's lots of great restaurants and entertainment in the downtown area. The party can carry on into the evening after you leave WrestleMania."
With Detroit and Ford Field at the ready for WrestleMania 23, April 1 couldn't come soon enough for the city, the venue, WWE and the WWE fans. Don't forget -- tickets for the historic WrestleMania 23 go on sale Saturday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m.
"I think WrestleMania next year provides us with that perfect example of our heritage and one of the great moments of our heritage, and yet the chance to show off this generation, the greatest generation of Superstars ever," said DeVito.
Watch the WrestleMania 23 Fan Rally