RAIDER NATION: Super Bowl LVIII, which takes place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in February, will be the city’s biggest event ever, according to local business leaders. ( David Becker / Getty Images)
The saying is what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and all parties involved seem eager to make the Super Bowl more than a one-time affair in Sin City.
“We have amazing Super Bowl cities that go into rotation, Las Vegas will certainly be one of them as well,” Nicki Ewell, NFL senior director of events, said at a media preview in Las Vegas put on by the Super Bowl Host Committee. “But it’s also about (Raiders owner Mark Davis’) commitment to the city, the investment and the risk that he took in this market and this amazing, beautiful Allegiant Stadium that he helped build. So it starts with Mr. Davis and the commitment from the Raiders to build a fan base here.”
Getting an NFL franchise and a stadium were the first, although gargantuan, steps in bringing a Super Bowl to the entertainment destination and hospitality mecca known as Las Vegas. From there, it was mostly game on to secure the big game — although it wasn’t easy, as discussions to host the event were taking place before the Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium had even had a game.
Rather than the competitive bidding process to land the Super Bowl seen in previous years, “The NFL has shifted to an approach of what’s the best city for the best year for the best Super Bowl, and when 2024 became available, they immediately identified Vegas,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Instead of having to compete against other cities, you end up in a position where you kind of have to compete against yourself. So you’re given an opportunity by the NFL to work closely with their staff. Now it’s much more of a collaborative-trust process to create this blueprint for the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.” The LVCVA made the bid for the Super Bowl in 2021 and was awarded it in December of that year.
The Super Bowl is a big get for any city but especially for Las Vegas, which already hosts 330,000 guests, a figure city officials consider “sold out,” during a regular non-Vegas Super Bowl and most weekends.
“Simply put, it’ll be the biggest event in the history of Las Vegas,” said Sean McBurney, regional president of Caesars Entertainment. “When you look at the demand for any Super Bowl when we’re not hosting it, we’re at 100% occupancy of people coming from around the country that want to be in Las Vegas to consume the Super Bowl. And when you actually get the game here, what we’re seeing is demand that’s off the charts, a level of demand that we’ve never seen before.” McBurney points to major renovations at Caesars hotel towers and casino properties, new restaurants and more being complete in time for February.
“We’re really focusing on food and beverage because there’s more to the Super Bowl than just the game experience,” McBurney added. “You should expect to see Gordon Ramsay. You should expect to see Guy Fieri. You should expect to see a lot of celebrities here to make the fan experience that much better.”
Figures provided by Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst at Applied Analysis, put the incremental revenue for hosting the Super Bowl at $600 million to $700 million, with a week’s worth of activities and attractions related directly to the game, including 1,600 private jets expected to arrive.
With the glitz and glamor of Vegas meaning hotel rooms and actual Super Bowl tickets commanding very high dollars, Ewell notes more accessible events and activities available for locals and more typical football fans. Super Bowl Opening Night fueled by Gatorade is a media event featuring both teams, head coach and ownership on the field at Allegiant Stadium, with tickets available for $30 for those wanting to get a look at the players before Sunday rolls around.
The popular Super Bowl Experience fan-fest event this year takes place at the Mandalay Bay, with tickets starting at $50.
“What makes Vegas so special to me is that it’s so accessible for anyone,” Ewell said. “There’s a price point for everyone in Vegas, and we love driving fans to events that are accessible. That’s why we have the Draft here, it’s free, and we have these amazing events we’re excited to launch on game week.”
With Las Vegas known as an entertainment and tourism capital and the NFL known for running a tight ship for one of the most high-profile events of the year, the match between hospitality and security are intertwined and actually work together.
“We are a level-one security event and so for us, security is a non-negotiable,” said Ewell. “Whether it’s an event at the Mandalay Bay, whether it’s an amazing owner’s party that we’re hosting an event on the stadium campus the day of the game, it’s a non-negotiable. So the first thing that we look at in any market that we go to is what the security overlay is, who the public safety and private security partners are going to be.”
McBurney notes heightened security throughout the city during normal operations helps create an environment where guests feel safe and like anything goes in Sin City.
“I would say there’s no town in the world that has more surveillance cameras than Las Vegas,” McBurney said. “When you look at who comes to visit Las Vegas, it’s some of the wealthiest people in the world. It’s celebrities, it’s dignitaries, it’s politicians. We have to be able to ensure that we’re safe for everybody. So we’re absolutely aligned on that. And we’re proud to be the official sponsor of the NFL. We’ve been working with them for a long time. We understand their standards, we share their standards, and we’re completely aligned.”