The world of professional wrestling comes to New Orleans for the first time this weekend, and it culminates Sunday night with WrestleMania XXX at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
WrestleMania has been dubbed the "Super Bowl of Wrestling" and is considered WWE's flagship event. To local tourism officials like Mark Romig, WrestleMania XXX is a really big deal.
"We're looking at probably between a $35-40 million impact for the region." says Romig, President/CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.
70,000 wrestling fans are expected to fill the Superdome for the event Sunday night, which begins at 5:30pm. Romig expects about 30,000 of those will stay overnight or for a few days, spending money on hotel rooms and meals at local restaurants.
And he expects the city's hotels to be full or nearly full this weekend.
"WrestleMania attracts a global audience. This is a worldwide phenomenon, and we expect to have visitors come from all over the United States to enjoy this," Romig said.
In preparation for the event, the New Orleans Local Organizing Committee and WWE will treat the city's taxicab drivers to a free lunch at the Convention and Visitors Bureau headquarters, 2020 St. Charles Avenue, from 10am to 2pm today.
Cabbies will be briefed on what to expect during the multi-day event.