Las Vegas, Nevada 2020-09-17 05:00:00 –
Las Vegas is Las Vegas because of its venues. How did a dusty desert outpost become a regional tourist destination in the first place? Las Vegas built exciting casinos and comfortable places to stay. Then it became a top international destination by continuing to grow, building bigger, more luxurious casinos and hotels with convention centers and meeting spaces, showrooms and theaters, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Then it built arenas, and now it has a modern stadium. The coronavirus pandemic might temporarily prevent fans from filling Allegiant Stadium to watch Raiders and Rebels football games, but the momentum created by the construction of this next-level venue can only be paused, not halted. This place is truly a game-changer for Las Vegas, and its ultimate impact should be even greater than the previously inconceivable arrival of the NFL here.
“It was certainly designed to be a multifaceted entertainment facility,” says Jeremy Aguero, principal at Applied Analysis. “Clearly, its primary purpose is the home of the Raiders and Rebel football, but the facility itself has the ability to host any number of private or public events.” Aguero’s firm serves as staff for the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, the owner and supervisor of the stadium project created by the Nevada State Legislature.
“If you look at the lease agreement the stadium has, I believe it’s the only stadium that has the provision that its operator, in this case the Raiders, has an affirmative obligation to maximize the utility of the stadium. It has to find ways to put other events in the facility, and the reason the authority insisted on that was that the economic impact goes beyond football games. It’s huge for the Raiders and huge for UNLV, too, but it brings the ability to put additional heads in beds thanks to any number of concerts, other sporting events or other things.”
If you’re only looking forward to visiting Allegiant Stadium for a football game or something like the Garth Brooks concert scheduled for February 27, that’s perfectly fine. But in tourism talk, “heads in beds” means constantly creating bigger events and venues that will bring more visitors to Las Vegas more frequently for longer stays, and that’s how Southern Nevada’s economy works. When it can operate at full intended capacity, the stadium is projected to generate an economic benefit of $620 million annually while creating 6,000 permanent jobs.
New entertainment venues have always generated additional excitement around the Las Vegas brand and contributed to boosts in visitation, especially if you consider brand-new casino resorts as venues themselves. Retracing the history of larger, more impactful entertainment venues on and off the Strip leads you through Sam Boyd Stadium, the Thomas & Mack Center, the Aladdin Theater for the Performing Arts (now Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood), MGM Grand Garden Arena, the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and T-Mobile Arena. Allegiant Stadium is bigger, of course, but also just as versatile a venue as any of those.
Aguero notes that initial discussions and models assumed 46 events was the “mid-case scenario” for the stadium, including Raiders and Rebels home games, the annual Las Vegas Bowl and other pro and college football contests, concert tours that might have previously skipped the market and other private and public events. It appears likely that COVID will delay that many events from happening until 2022 at the earliest, but the expectation hasn’t changed.
And while it’s fun to fantasize about Super Bowls and Final Fours and other events Vegas can now accommodate, it’s even more intriguing to consider things we haven’t even considered yet.
“There are always different things that are going to develop,” Aguero says. “One that tends to come up is esports. Will that develop into something very large? There are always conversations about political conventions. Overall, I think we can look at what activities haven’t happened previously and know any of those are now possible in Southern Nevada. And do I think the Raiders and their contractors are getting creative in thinking about ways to do things not only better, but differently? Yes, and I look forward to seeing how that manifests.”
The stadium now joins a unique event and entertainment industry infrastructure ready to handle any of those creative new ideas. No city does private and corporate events like Las Vegas, and the stadium elevates that capability further with a multitude of adjustable spaces and options.
“The field is one of Allegiant Stadium’s most versatile spaces because of its ability to be utilized as a concrete floor, Raiders artificial turf, UNLV artificial turf, a combination of turf and concrete, or Raiders grass field, which is their NFL playing surface,” says sales director Sam Johnson. “These variations in surfaces allow for trade shows and private concerts to be set on concrete while a reception can be held directly on the artificial turf.
“Other spaces within the building have similar abilities to be customized based on the type of event hosted,” Johnson continues. “In the VIP clubs, the spaces can be preset with existing furniture ideal for networking or can be completely cleared, and the space will be a blank canvas to set up chairs and stages for a keynote.”
The venue’s exterior has been well-received by Las Vegans, even though they won’t be able to explore the stadium yet. By all accounts, the interior is even more striking and impressive, just waiting to thrill locals and visitors with the biggest Vegas entertainment experience yet.
“We love the public’s positivity of the stadium’s exterior, along with the creative nicknames they’ve assigned it,” says Lara Gladstone, director of marketing. “We really feel their pride of having this stadium in their hometown.
“The interior is truly one of a kind. An exciting part of the stadium we can’t wait to debut is the peristyle, which offers one of the best views of the Las Vegas skyline, and where the Al Davis Memorial Torch sits. Additionally, there’s a very intimate vibe in the bowl. Fans will have a great view no matter where they sit. The architecture inside feels futuristic and matches the sleekness of the exterior, which we know the fans will be really excited about.”