Rosedale Center brings pro wrestling to Saturday night at the mall

The Minnesota mall is finding new ways to connect with its community

That hype when a pumped-up crowd reacts to a pro wrestler? It’s known as a “pop.”

And things are definitely popping at Minnesota’s Rosedale Center.

This month, the regional mall, located between St. Paul and Minneapolis in Roseville, scheduled its most recent event in a series of strategic — and sometimes surprising — happenings: Saturday Night Nitro. In partnership with F1RST Wrestling, the all-ages pro wrestling event scheduled for March 7 will include an elevated ring, local and national talent, and an over-the-top cast of characters.

“People are hungry for fun, engaging, new entertainment,” said Sarah Fossen, Rosedale Center’s director of marketing and experience. ”They also want to connect authentically with brands and destinations. There is so much competition for leisure activities, we have to be thoughtful and creative to be successful.”

No worries there. Last year, Rosedale Center held a “Haunted Basement” and RuPaul drag fashion show aimed at drawing in millennial and Gen Z shoppers. Not only did tickets sell out; Fossen reported that the Haunted Basement garnered more than 75 million impressions on social, digital and print media. The drag show hit almost 50 million media impressions, including the Wall Street Journal. And the shopping center hired a curatorial team who have been integrating art into the mall since last spring, when they installed 50 artworks throughout the mall for visitors to find and enjoy.

As for the wrestling? More than 500 tickets — at $15-$25 — were sold within 24 hours.

“We are reinventing mall marketing,” Fossen said. “We are taking a new look at our target demographics … and giving them a reason to come to the mall.” But Rosedale Center also works to make its advertising more inclusive of its community and trade area, and has featured plus-size, older, Muslim and transgender models, in addition to people of color. “Traffic and sales are important, but the ultimate goal is emotional equity,” Fossen said. “We want them to feel like Rosedale is their mall and have a real connection to us, and see themselves in the space.”

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