Huge Wrestlemania crowd serves as test for Levi's
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) -- Wrestlemania 31 meant big excitement for fans in the South Bay over the weekend, but it also was a major test for Levi's Stadium ahead of Super Bowl 50.
It was the highest grossing WWE event ever and set a record for attendance at Levi's Stadium with nearly 77,000 people. And it may have been the best preparation for next year's Super Bowl the stadium has had so far.
"Everything just ran so smoothly, from the gates we got though fairly quickly, got up to our seats quite easily and when it was all over it emptied fairly quickly," said John Perosh, who came with his family from Australia.
Much like the Super Bowl, this event had fans flying in from far and wide. And so hotels were filled to capacity.
The WWE estimates they brought $100 million to the Bay Area economy.
"The number of people coming in for Wrestlemania was pretty close to equivalent what they think the number of people will be for the Super Bowl, so great preparation. We're excited to have it," said Hyatt Regency Santa Clara General Manager Matt Humphreys.
Also put through its paces was the VTA light rail system. There were 80 trains running and 200 buses. Service started a full four hours before the event. It was afterward though, that fans experienced a bit of a wait.
"On the way out it was just like thousands of people. It was just like one train came and the next train came and the next train came. And the next thing you knew we were on it," said WWE fan Tim Pulkrabek.
The platform was cleared in just over an hour. VTA officials say they're learning and adapting with each event.
"We were monitoring, watching and adapting on the move. So we had extra buses standing in wait so we could pick up the excess loads at key light rail stations. So we backed up our service with bus service," said Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority spokesperson Bernice Alaniz.
Stadium operations crews have only begun to debrief. They'll be looking at the flow in and out of the stadium, how well concessions were stocked, and whether they'll put bleachers in the same place come Super Bowl Sunday.
"It is encouraging when you can handle a maximum capacity crowd, get people in and out of the building and really hear a lot of positive feedback," said San Francisco 49ers Director of Communications Bob Lange.
Still they say there's a lot of work to be done between now and next February, to make sure they're ready.
"Yeah they'll handle the Super Bowl. If they can handle this, they can handle the Super Bowl," said fan Jenny Reyna.
Stadium officials also plan to solicit email feedback from fans about how Wrestlemania went. Then the focus turns to Monster Jam and Supercross, two events coming up in April.