Exclusive: Philadelphia will host WWE's Royal Rumble in 2018
Philadelphia's rich history of professional wrestling will get even richer in 2018: The city will host the WWE Royal Rumble at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 28.
The Royal Rumble is one of the WWE's "big four" events, which also include WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and the Survivor Series.
Philadelphia hosted the Royal Rumble in 2015, which brought 17,164 fans to the Wells Fargo Center. But that was before the WWE changed its strategy: Now, it presents multiple events surrounding its "big four" extravaganzas, all at the same venue.
Auxiliary events Raw, Smackdown Live, and NXT -- the company's developmental program that has morphed into its own thriving brand -- will also also take place at the Wells Fargo Center Jan. 27-30 next year.
On Jan. 27, 2018, WWE will present a live special from NXT called NXT Takeover. WWE's main television programs, Raw and Smackdown Live, will be held at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 29 and Jan. 30, 2018.
Ticket information for all events will be announced soon.
"WWE has enjoyed a very special relationship with the city and its fans over decades, and that important heritage made Philadelphia a very natural choice to host this unprecedented four-night celebration," John Saboor, WWE's executive vice president of special events, said in an interview Wednesday. "Our decision to place next year's Royal Rumble celebration in Philadelphia is truly another exciting and important step in the continued growth of WWE's four largest annual events."
Saboor said one of the reasons Philadelphia landed the Royal Rumble was that WWE has appreciated the city's passion and pursuit in hosting major events, including its most notable event, WrestleMania, which the city has bid on in recent years.
Saboor also said the WWE would work with the city on other ancillary events to help celebrate the Royal Rumble, including community and charity activities.
When it came to clearing the dates for WWE, Wells Fargo Center president John Page said that it wasn't an issue and that the venue jumped at the opportunity to host the Royal Rumble again.
"When you look at what WWE has been able to accomplish in terms of their live-event programming, to be able to bring four events to Philadelphia, it's huge," Page said.
"The wrestling community, there's nothing quite like it from an entertainment value," he added.
"When they presented us the opportunity to essentially put a bid together, we were very excited about it. Albeit, it was a little bit different from before, the attractive nature of it really showcased four successive nights, it's something you don't get the opportunity to do very often."
He said it also meant a lot to Comcast Spectacor overall, as it owns NBC Universal, the television home of WWE.
This year is the 30th edition of the Royal Rumble, which will be held Sunday at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Fans here can watch the event live on the WWE Network starting at 5 p.m.