WrestleMania 31 in Suplex City

For the second time in five weeks, Levi’s Stadium hosted a major sporting event that would push the venue to its limits. And like the Stadium Series in February, it was a sellout. 76,976 came through the gates to watch WrestleMania 31. I polled Twitter followers after the event. While some continued to have issues coming out of the main parking lot (Green #1), fans in lots farther away appeared to have a much easier time. VTA did well too, with numerous express buses ready to go along with light rail trains going east and west. There’s now over a dozen large events’ worth of traffic data that VTA, Santa Clara, and traffic consultants can use to help formulate solutions to ease the post-burden gridlock, but there’s only so much they can do given how the street grid is laid out.

There were also private buses, like these outside the Fairmont San Jose:

Apparently there was also a ticket snafu, which delayed longtime friend-of-the-blog and fellow A’s fan @LnStrngr:

Inside the stadium the event was a rousing success. I watched parts of it, and though I’m no wrestling fan, the spectacle was impressive and the vast majority of fans loved it, including my two wrestling-fan brothers. For me there was the immediate disconnect of having wrestling matches outdoors during the day, which was necessary to keep East Coast viewers to a somewhat reasonable bedtime.

Over the weekend I saw so many Twitter and Facebook posts from friends who attended the main event tonight, the NXT showcase, AXXESS and WrestleCon, and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Some are also going to RAW on Monday night. Most of these events were held in and around downtown San Jose, which undoubtedly was grateful for huge influx of tourists. Though the actual attendance was higher than the Super Bowl, WrestleMania isn’t quite at the scale of SB in terms of hosting, so WM31 made for a solid rehearsal for next February.

After tonight, I guess SC no longer stands for Santa Clara. It stands for Suplex City. Bitch.

30 thoughts on “WrestleMania 31 in Suplex City

  1. http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers/article16203281.html

    related to levi’s stadium and posted it previously but don’t know if anybody else saw it since it was in a couple of threads down but niners are making improvements on trying to beat the heat.

    as for the wrestlemania event itself, don’t watch wrestling at all anymore but nice to see the stadium being used and filled up to capacity for things other than football.

  2. Seats that don’t exist. Wow.

  3. RM,
    is there any data, or info, regarding issues with folks parking in nearby neighborhoods? I ask out of curiosity, as this was a major concern of a hypothetical Warm Springs/Fremont ballpark. Levi’s is obviously twice as large as a MLB ballpark, and the Santa Clara neighborhoods are just as close (if not closer) than those in Fremont.

    • I’ve only been to the Sharks game at Levi’s, but I could see from the upper deck concourse that cops were stationed at each of the entrances to the neighborhood east of Lafayette and stopping cars trying to go in. Not sure how far out they go with that, but that seems to take care of most of the close neighborhoods.

    • It’s not a data issue. It’s a nuisance/enforcement issue. Nowadays every major venue works with the City to create a TPMP (Transportation & Parking Management Program) that is supposed to be comprehensive. It covers transit, routing of vehicles to parking facilities, and neighborhood protection. For Levi’s it’s pretty extensive,going east for the Lafayette residents and west for the nearby neighborhood in Sunnyvale. A similar plan is in place for the Cahill Park neighborhood near SAP Center, though residents have complained about frequent violators.

    • I work near Levi’s (<0.5mi away), and work with several people who live in the potentially affected neighborhoods. Their experiences have been that the first couple of events at Levi's were a challenge (pre-season 49er games, the soccer match), but as the inaugural season wore on, they said SCPD and the city made some tweaks and no further issues were encountered. Small sample size, but they seem fine with how the city responded after the first events. None of my colleagues had any complaints after WM31.

  4. I was there. It was one of the greatest events I’ve ever been to. The one thing the WWE definitely knows how to do is entertain.

    I went with a group of friends and we all wanted to tailgate, so we had to park in the lot. The grounds crew at the stadium were very friendly and attentive but the traffic was bad, really bad. I can see where all of the frustration about that comes from. Everyone expects to hit traffic attending an event with that many people but the amount of time we spent just sitting was insane.

    Also I sat in sec 221, so I was on the “sunny side” and I can definitely see where the frustration about that comes from too. Somehow at that stadium you just bake way more than any other stadium in a high temperature region and I’ve been to my fair share of stadiums. Not having a shade overhead on the top of the stadium is a huge flaw in the architecture.

    All in all I had a great time. The stadium staff were all very friendly, which isn’t easy to do around 76,000 screaming WWE fans, the lines for food and beer were very short, I never had to wait more than 2 mins in a line to use the bathroom, which is unheard of at a sold out coliseum, and the building is nice, very nice. But IMO you would have to be a huge Niners fan to deal with that kind of traffic every Sunday. Lucky for me I’m a Raiders fan.

  5. I still disagree with all the “no roof” complaints, having sat on the sunny side of the stadium myself on a warm day. Nobody seems to care that Stanford, O.co, Cal, the Rose Bowl, the LA Coliseum, Qualcomm, etc don’t have roofs even though they are in locations that are often warm and sunny. But for whatever reason, it’s a huge issue at Levi’s? I don’t think so. Any reasonable adult can prepare for it with next to no effort.

  6. i think bay area fans are just used to the on average cool weather in these outdoor venues. candlestick and coliseum is a lot different than where levi’s is located. even when the bay area as a whole is in a warm phase it’s probably 10-15 degrees hotter in the south bay than it is here in the central bay. i think you still get somewhat of a breeze too at the coliseum/candlestick locations coming off the bay when it is hot which doesn’t happen down in santa clara.

    now as the article posted above mentioned the niners will try to remedy this issue by adding cool “units” on the sunny side of levi’s that will hopefully help out the fans baking in the sun.

    • The average high temperature in Oakland during football season is not dramatically different than Santa Clara:

      Santa Clara Oakland

      Sept 81 74
      Oct 76 72
      Nov 67 65
      Dec 59 58

      Source: Wikipedia (which uses NOAA data for Oakland and Western Regional Climate Center data for Santa Clara)

      It’s also not true that you don’t get much breeze in Santa Clara, which is very close to the bay. Many times I’ve taken the kids to the water park at Great America in the summer and found it surprisingly chilly there because of the breeze.

      • It’s not November/December that’s the issue, it’s September (and August, if preseason games are during the day). I think it is more of the “used to” thing that bartleby mentioned, and I don’t think it’s significant enough to need a roof or whatever, but there is a big difference between 81 and 74.

      • Sorry, that letsgoas mentioned…

      • The Raiders play pretty much all their preseason games at night, and I understand that is likely the plan for the Niners going forward.

        September usually accounts for maybe 2 games, of which at least one may be played at night. The rest of the regular season and playoffs (which is most of the games) the difference between Oakland and Santa Clara is trivial.

        Even for September, 7 degrees difference is noticeable, but let’s not overstate it. Plenty of other outdoor stadiums in the U.S. routinely get temperatures equal to or dramatically higher than 81 degrees in September – typically with higher humidity and less breeze than Santa Clara. Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Nashville, Washington and Baltimore spring immediately to mind.

  7. Just spoke with a co-worker who attended the show and his first words to me were ” I’m never going to the place again”. His major complaint was the parking set up. He pre-paid for Blue Lot parking but made the mistake of not getting directions to the Blue Lot before hand. It took him an hour of driving around before he finally found the lot. This was after being chastised by a parking attendant for ” not planning ahead” he asked for help. He asked me if I had any similar issues as a SBL holder and I told him no, when I did drive I did my research before hand and had no issue. But he did mention that was a common complain from a lot of attendees, a lack of signage and direction of how to get back and forth between the lots.

    I think they have 3-4 concerts coming up over the summer so they’ll have more chances to practice with the ” never been here before” crowd.

    • Someone saying “I’m never going to the place again” because they didn’t find out where their parking was ahead of time is kind of like saying “I’m never going to that bar again because I spilled a beer on myself there”.

  8. I have yet to go to a game, or other event.

    If all goes as planned this season, I will be able to go and hardly worry about crowds 🙂

  9. Just a little more background on my issue. There was a whole series of rows that were sold that they ended up not being able to have.

    We went through security. When we tried to scan the tickets they scanned ‘blue’ and the guy told me that we had been upgraded. I knew that was a bad sign. We had to go to a mobile Ticket Services shack. I waited in line and then gave them my tickets. The girl looked them up, wrote a number on a piece of paper and handed it to someone else. They said to stand to the side and wait while they printed our new tickets. We waited. And waited. Everyone was friendly and apologetic. After 30 minutes we eventually went through the nearby security (again) so we could at least wait in a shaded area. More waiting, and then I could hear the first pre-show match being introduced. I loaded up the WWE Network app on my phone so my son could at least watch it. I saw everyone in line come up to the shack and walk away with their tickets. Still nothing for us.

    The wait was apparently because they had to call the main TicketMaster office to sort out where to place us. Not sure how they got the tickets. Maybe pulled them from the second-hand market? We had been waiting so long, even a San Jose policeman came over to see what was going on. I have to thank him for taking a couple minutes of his time to talk to my son while we waited. Finally, one of the ticket people was going to escort me to the main ticket office inside the stadium, but just at that moment they figured whatever it was out.

    If you see the picture in @TerryMcSweeney’s tweet, there is a huge gap between the fans and the stage area. My seats were supposed to be there, 15 feet from the ramp. Unfortunately, they needed to drive a tank in through there, and also probably wanted a little more buffer from the fireworks. They ended up placing us on the opposite side of the ramp, not in the comparable section, but the next one over. Instead of being just twenty feet from the ramp and on camera for every entrance, we were 50-60 feet away and behind nearly every camera angle. Definitely a downgrade, when I was selling my son on how close we were going to be. Luckily, he had a great time anyway (after the hour wait in the heat).

    I think what pisses me off the most is that they should have known this Friday or Saturday when they set up and ran through everything. Why couldn’t someone have called me or sent out an email to call them and get it fixed ahead of time? Maybe no one on site knew the tickets were sold in the first place.

    The show itself was awesome. My son had a great time. The concourse to get to our seat was in front of the main press tower (section 143?), and walking there at times seemed like walking through the Coliseum on a sold out day. We chose the musical act to run to the restrooms and that ended up being an easy walk. We left the restroom, and I looked over at concessions. Had about a 60 second wait; I couldn’t believe it.

    My wife had parked in the nearby industrial area about 30 minutes before the end of the show, on the other side of Lafayette. We followed the stream of people and met her in about 20 minutes. We drove to Montague and there was zero traffic to 880.

    All in all, it was a great experience, minus that hour before the show.

  10. I ended up going to Wrestlemania since my tix didn’t sell. I had 2 pairs (480 each ticket), 2 were on Field Riser 112 (Sold for a loss) and the last two were on the floor F04 where the stage is.

    Turns out I now understand why my tix did not sell. There were massive obstructed views from the floor seating. WWE put up 4 pillars (1 on each corner of the ring) that went 100 feet straight up in the air at least. Connected them up top for 2 massive view screens.

    There was also a tent setup right in front of Sec 135, people were super mad they couldn’t see the ring around it.

    This was a bad setup all around, they shouldn’t have setup the view screens, Levi’s already has 2 huge screens on each side of the stadium.

    My buddy and I figured for 500 each ticket we should have club access. We got different answers every time. Turns out as we were about to approach out seats I asked a very nice lady if we could get access to the United Club. She hesitated and I said “for 500 bucks each ticket I should be able to go into the club”, she agreed and let us pass.

    Turns out our seats were totally obstructed by the pillars so we ended up watching the entire event from the air conditioned United Club at the 50 yard line with a perfect view of the ring and view screen. This is on the suite tower side.

    Was I entertained? Oh yes, I stopped watching WWE when I turned 18 in 2000 and went to college. I was a fan from 6 years old, they turned back the clock with multiple wrestlers showing up from when I used to watch religiously. (The Rock, HBK, Degeneration X, NWO, etc…, Hogan was even there as part of NWO)

    I forgot why I liked it so much in the first place, at age 16 I would have killed to be at Wrestlemania! Not so much at 32, but still I can kick this off the bucket list.

    Took VTA to the game, no issues at all, 30 min easy from DSJ to the Stadium and back. Well done on the part of VTA.

    If you smell what the rock is cooking!

    • My tickets had access to Club 501 (top of the suite tower), United Club was way better

    • @Sid How was the wait for light rail coming out of the stadium? When I went to the Winter Classic the light rail situation after the game was a hassle, just a huge, formless mass of people you had to fight your way through to find the right line for your train. I remember thinking they really need to figure out a way to lengthen those queues; wondering if they made improvements for WrestleMania.

      I went to WrestleMania also, but this time a buddy drove and we parked in a private lot about a mile from the stadium. Easy peasy both in and out.

      • At the Winter Classic it seemed like most of the holdup was that the whole light rail crowd had to funnel through barricades where two light rail employees were checking that everyone had tickets. Because God forbid a couple people sneak through without paying their two bucks. Once you got through that, there was no waiting for the Mountain View trains.

        Seems like they could go to the honor system for the return trains and save a lot of hassle and aggravation for the train riders. Isn’t $2 times a few freeloaders worth making 10,000 people happy?

      • @manimalof7 Yes, at Winter Classic we had 30 minutes of fighting the mob just to get in the right queue for our train (which was short and moved quickly). So was this not the case at Wrestlemania?

  11. The VTA ride to the Sharks Levi’s game was more treacherous than the ride back. Over-filled trains made stops, with people on the train trying to convince people at the station that there was no more room. A fight almost broke out over this on the train I was on. I’m glad I gave myself 2.5 hours to get to the game even though it was only a 20-minute Light Rail ride away

    • @pjk It was the same situation at Winter Classic. Nevertheless I found the ride back more of a hassle.

    • Took us nearly 3 hours after the Sharks outdoor game to get back on light rail to Campbell. Issue not only was lines but a complete lack of line control- ultimately we decided to just go I to a shorter line which was santa Teresa and take the train somewhere where we could get an uber back to Campbell. When we did that we made it to the platform but couldn’t squeeze on train. Ironically the next rain that came was for Winchester which meant we cut in front of a bunch of other people. Had the exact same experience when we went to the EQ game at Levi’s- guess I should have learned my lesson although it sounds like it was a much better experience for WWE. They should hire the Disneyland people to understand how to establish and maintain line control.

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