Mar 24, 2014 1:50 PM by associated press
World Wrestling Entertainment's WrestleMania will bring more than top professional wrestlers to New Orleans.
Chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon says the organization will team with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs in a global online auction to raise money for charitable work in the New Orleans area. McMahon said the effort is part of WWE's long-term commitment to bettering the lives of children around the world. She said WWE shows reach an estimated 15 million television viewers in 150 counties each week.
"WWE's mission is to put smiles on faces through not only our entertainment programming but through our community service initiatives," she said.
The auction, themed, Superstars for Kids, opens Monday at www.charitybuzz.com and closes April 8 at noon EDT. Opening bid values are set by the auction site. McMahon said the proceeds will be evenly divided between the Boys and Girls Clubs and Brees' organization.
She said the organization also is working with a partner group to build a playground in a poor neighborhood in New Orleans.
Among items up for bid are lunch with actor Charlie Sheen on the set of the TV series "Anger Management," a chance to be in a movie produced by Tyler Perry's studio and trips to meet-and-greet TV host Jimmy Kimmel and wrestling stars including Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Brees, who has had a strong presence in charitable and community improvement efforts since joining the Saints in 2006, mostly through the Brees Dream Foundation. He was named most valuable player in the 2009 Super Bowl, in which the Saints beat the Payton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts.
Brees said the auction proceeds "will be used to support our ongoing global efforts to help improve the quality of life for Cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need."
WrestleMania matches are set for April 6 at the Superdome.
WWE considers the event, held annually, to be the Super Bowl of wrestling, McMahon said. The first WrestleMania took place in 1985 at Madison Square Garden in New York.