There’s no question the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas, and the team’s new state-of-the-art stadium, makes Las Vegas a future member of the Super Bowl rotation club for the NFL. The reason are numerous on why it will be the league’s top site for future big games.
Super Bowl Sunday 2018: -17-degree wind chill.
Not the most ideal weather when you want to throw the biggest party of the year. But that’s what NFL fans, media, and personnel had to endure for the week leading up to Super Bowl LII. The game itself was played in a dome, so does it even matter that it was cold outside?
Warm weather cities like Miami, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, & Los Angeles (Pasadena) are the cities most associated with hosting the Super Bowl. LA and Miami are regularly in the mid 70’s, while New Orleans and Tampa Bay are in the slightly cooler 65-70-degree range. These four cities have hosted a combined 34 of 56 Super Bowl’s, with Miami, Tampa Bay, and LA set to host the Super Bowl in 2020, 2021, and 2022 respectively.
That means the biggest event of the year in American (and the world, sans the World Cup) sports will be hosted 61-percet of the time among just four cities.
Miami and NOLA have 21 Super Bowl’s between them. They’re clearly the favorites of the NFL, but are they the best?
Miami has South Beach, night life, beautiful weather, and an open-air stadium that holds over 65,000 fans. Seems perfect, right? What about hotels? The greater Miami area has upwards of 55,000 hotel rooms. Finding vacancies can be difficult when the Super Bowl draws an average of more than 1,000,000 fans to the host city in the two weeks leading up to the Big Game. Additionally, South Beach is more than 15 miles away from Hard Rock Stadium. Most of the events are located downtown and on the beaches. It’s still not the most convenient option, though.
New Orleans is one of the best cities in the U.S. that I have had the opportunity to visit. It’s a great spot for a Super Bowl. Bourbon Street is a non-stop party. Frenchmen Street is full of life, culture, and music. The food is simply amazing no matter where you go to eat. And the Superdome is only a little over a mile away from the French Quarter. That’s walkable for almost any fan.
So, what are the negatives?
Space for one. Like Miami, New Orleans has around 55,000 available hotel rooms. Book early, or you may find yourself without a place to stay. Unfortunately, every local UBER, LYFT, or taxi driver will tell you: “stay on the main streets, and don’t go exploring off the beaten path.” Crime is a legitimate threat in the Crescent City. And while the Superdome is a short walk from all the fun, it is one of the older stadiums in the NFL. Upgrades have been made over the years, but concourses are very cramped and missing some of the finer amenities the newer stadiums have to offer.
There is one city not yet on that list that is going to change the standard for what it means to host a Super Bowl and that’s Las Vegas.
It’s a city built on tourism 365 days a year. Las Vegas plays host to almost 22,000 different conventions and trade shows each year. The largest of those is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). CES brings in close to 200,000 people from all over the world. The city also plays host to over 300,000 people for their New Year’s Eve celebration, and another 150-200,000 people who come to watch and wager on the Super Bowl too.
Experience in hosting big events isn’t the only reason Las Vegas is the perfect city for the Super Bowl.
Las Vegas has perfect weather for most of the year. Yes, it gets a bit hot in the summer. Like, surface of the sun hot. But the Super Bowl isn’t played in the summer. This past Super Bowl Sunday, most of Las Vegas was barbecuing in shorts and t-shirts enjoying 75 degrees, sunny, with the lightest of breezes. It was perfect. It was a little above normal for this time of the year but it’s never cold on game day. Short sleeves are always appropriate.
Nightlife & Entertainment
Come on, it’s Las Vegas. First, it really is a 24-hour town. You can find something to do at any hour of the day or night. The best clubs hosting the best DJ’s from all over the world reside in the hotels lining the Las Vegas Strip. There are over 2,000 restaurants offering menus from all the top celebrity chefs. Wine lists offering selections from every region, hand selected by some of the most experienced Master Sommelier’s in the industry. Specialty cocktails from the best and most creative mixologists in the world.
And let’s not forget the thing that put Vegas on the map: the casinos.
Whether it’s craps, poker, or the slots, Las Vegas has what you’re looking for. Oh, they also happen to have legalized sports gambling in the biggest sportsbooks in the world. The Super Bowl produces thousands of prop bets for you to chose from, making the game itself that much more exciting. You’re also right in the middle of the NHL and NBA seasons. Every game is on the board for you to bet on. If they’re in town, you can take a walk over to the new T-Mobile Arena and catch a Vegas Golden Knights game in the best new hockey environment in the league.
Stadium location is a big factor in your overall convenience on gameday. The new Raiders stadium will be on a piece of land on the West side of Interstate, directly across from the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. It will be a state of the art, 65,000 seat, closed (composite) roof stadium. Pedestrian bridges will be constructed making the walk from The Strip to the stadium a literal stroll across the street. If you are staying at any of the properties on Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana to Russell, you are within a 10-minute walk to the game. What if you’re at a property further down The Strip, you ask? The Monorail runs from the SLS Hotel on Sahara (far north end of The Strip) to the MGM Grand on Tropicana. The I-15 freeway also runs parallel with the Strip, so a quick UBER ride is a snap. The Strip itself is only a 4.5 mile stretch of road. No matter which hotel you’re staying in, you’re never that far from the action.
The Most Hotel Rooms of any City on Earth
Yes, that is a stone-cold hard fact: Las Vegas has more hotel rooms that any other city in the world with almost 170,000 rooms available. To put that in perspective, if you were to take the six properties that will be closest to the Raiders stadium (MGM Grand, New York New York, Tropicana, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay), you would have almost 22,000 rooms available. That’s close to 40% of the TOTAL number of rooms in the two cities that have hosted the most Super Bowls. And that’s just the six closest hotels. There’s still another 3.5 miles of hotels to choose from.
It’s not just the game on Sunday that brings people to the host city. The 10 days leading up to the game are filled with parties, fan experiences, current and former player appearances, media row, live television broadcasts, and all the merchandise you could ever want. There must be room to host all these separate events. Again, Las Vegas is already set up for just those types of things. Both the Mandalay Bay and the MGM Grand have all the space you could ever need. Both feature state of the art convention centers with 1,000,000 & 850,000 sq. ft of convention space respectively. Both properties also have on site arenas. Mandalay Bay Events Center is a 12,000-seat arena. The MGM Grand Garden Arena has 16,800 seats. T-Mobile arena, the home of the NHL’s Golden Knights, is located directly behind the NYNY Hotel and holds 20,000. And just 1.5 miles to the East of the MGM Grand, located on the Campus of UNLV is the 18,500 seat Thomas & Mack Center, home of the Runnin’ Rebels. If you do the math, that’s 67,300 seats all within just a couple of miles of each other. I think a concert or two may be able to find a place to put on a show.
With the infrastructure to handle the largest of crowds already in place, not to mention perfect weather, nightlife, restaurants, bars, entertainment, an overwhelming amount of convention space, the endless number of concert and show venues, and a brand-new state of the art stadium, there really isn’t a single negative I can find to suggest Las Vegas isn’t the greatest city in the world for hosting the Super Bowl.
Factor in (Las Vegas) Raiders owner, Mark Davis sits on the Super Bowl committee, and you can expect Las Vegas to become a regular participant in the host city rotation as early as 2023.
Bet on it.