Exclusive: WWE receiving more than $1.5 million in subsidies from government of Puerto Rico for Backlash

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WWE is receiving a $1.5 million subsidy, plus an additional $300,000 in-kind contribution to run the Backlash premium live event in San Juan on May 6, Puerto Rico, according to Mariela Vallines, executive director of the Puerto Rico Conventions District Authority.

“Both the Puerto Rico Convention District Authority and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company will contribute significantly,” Vallines told Wrestlenomics. “Although the Convention Authority is adding to the agreement the use of the venue as an additional in-kind portion.”

The Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot will host Backlash, as well as Smackdown the night before, marking the first televised WWE events in Puerto Rico since 2005.

Vallines also noted that there was no bidding process for Backlash, but WWE had received interest from other cities. “We are under the understanding that other cities were interested in hosting the event,” she said.

In November last year, WWE executive Nick Khan mentioned wanting to replicate subsidy agreements like the one the company made with the government in Cardiff for Clash at the Castle last September.

“Look for more from us in the site fee space, a new financial opportunity for us,” Khan said in his prepared remarks on a WWE earnings call last year. “We are in active conversations with other local governments and tourism boards about future events.”

The government in Wales declined last year to disclose to local media the value of the subsidy paid to WWE.

WWE has a history of soliciting bids for Wrestlemania, citing economic benefits to the host region.

San Antonio was selected for this year’s Royal Rumble after a competitive bidding process, Wrestlenomics learned through letters we were copied on in response to our public records request related to the January 28 event.

“WWE is highly selective in choosing venues for its events, especially those of the caliber of Royal Rumble 2023,” an attorney representing the City of San Antonio wrote to the Texas Attorney General’s office. “The City competed and was selected from a pool of other national venues. The City intends to compete for future WWE events to be held at the Alamodome in coming years.”

A ruling on whether information related to the bidding process for the Rumble event meets an exception under the state’s Public Information Act, and therefore can be withheld from being released in response to our records request, is expected around the end of April.

Brandon Thurston has written about wrestling business since 2015. He’s also worked as an independent wrestler and trainer.

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