Vegas business leaders discuss revenue growth, lessons learned from Formula 1, Super Bowl LVIII and the arrival of the Athletics MLB franchise.
Last week, the Vegas Chamber hosted its annual business forecasting event, Preview. The event highlighted the financial progress made in Las Vegas over the last year. It also focused on the future of infrastructure and business in the city, the relocation of the Athletics baseball team, the upcoming Super Bowl, and future Formula 1 races.
“We’re kicking off what I know is going to be an absolutely outstanding year for Las Vegas and for the entire state of Nevada,” said Mary Beth Sewald, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce,
A large crowd of industry professionals were in attendance at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas.
Vegas Business Progress
Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo took the stage to point out the $5 billion in new investments made in Las Vegas and the city’s continued job growth – including the creation of 6,000 new jobs over the last year. “We’re now tied with Texas as number one in employment growth.” Lombardo also noted the ongoing support of entrepreneurial enterprises in Las Vegas, which made a GDP impact of $1.5 billion last year.
In addition, the governor’s administration also enacted new policies to eliminate the red tape around business policies to support the business community better. “We ordered a freeze on all new regulations, reviewed existing regulations to eliminate all unnecessary ones and lowered the modified business tax by 15%.”
Fontainebleau President Brett Mufson further highlighted the economic progress made over the last year in Las Vegas. Mufson discussed the launch of Fontainebleau Las Vegas, which opened last December, following a strenuous process that lasted nearly 20 years. “We are excited to be a part of the fabric of the city,” Mufson said.
The Power of Perception
Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst with Applied Analysis, discussed the current state of the economy and negative consumer sentiment. Aguero attributed the negative sentiment to a significant increase in internet connectivity and the rise of social media as sources of news – with negativity driving consumption.
Aguero also highlighted some of the numbers around tourism in Vegas:
- Tourism employs around 229,000 people, generating $12.6 billion in wages.
- The Las Vegas tourism industry generates $44.9 billion in economic output.
- Tourism accounts for 34% of Las Vegas employment and 32% of regional earnings and represents 52% of the Las Vegas economy.
A Promising Future in Sports and Entertainment
Two executives leading the Las Vegas Grand Prix, CEO Renee Wilm and chief operating officer Betsy Fretwell, joined Aguero in a fireside discussion on the future of Formula 1 racing in the city.
Wilm noted that last year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix sold 316,000 on-track tickets as well as creating a massive draw to the city of spectators accounting for roughly 146,000 unique visitors. Additionally, the mechanics, engineers, vendors, sponsors, commercial workers, and caterers involved in the event also boosted revenue for the community with a far-reaching economic impact on Las Vegas.
- A record-setting Vegas event in terms of tax impact.
- Average Year-over-Year of 34% for average daily room rates.
- Clark County all-time high gaming revenue $152 million year-over-year.
- $561 million in combined total spending by race and non-race attendees.
- $884 million in economic impact of visitor spending.
Formula 1 in Las Vegas was not popular with many local businesses. Many claim the event negatively impacted their profits coupled with claims that the race disrupted traffic, drawing negative sentiment. However, a survey of local residents revealed long-term support by the local community. A small majority (52.8%) voted in favor of extending the Las Vegas Grand Prix long-term, with 21% saying they opposed the extension. Formula 1 returns to Vegas November 21- 23.
Super Bowl LVIII
Executive Vice President, Club Business, International & League Events, National Football League Peter O’Reilly spoke about his role in bringing the Super Bowl to Las Vegas and its expected impact. O’Reilly credited the successful partnership between Las Vegas and the NFL in bringing the Super Bowl to Sin City with the Raiders and the commitment made by team owner Mark Davis. “That’s why I’m sitting here today,” he said. “That’s why we have Super Bowl 58.”
O’Reilly discussed the process of producing a Super Bowl in a new market and creating a partnership with the host committee. “It’s been that multi-year lead-up where you try to get all your ducks in a row have the base plan, and now we’re in the mode of bringing it all to life.”
The NFL’s fast-paced partnership with Las Vegas was propelled by the 2022 NFL Draft being hosted in Vegas and the 2023 Pro Bowl hosted at Allegiant Stadium. Hundreds of additional events will take place during Super Bowl week, including the Super Bowl Experience, which will be hosted at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
Super Bowl Legacy
A major component of the event includes leaving a lasting legacy in the community. “I’d say very proud of the legacy components and the number of community events around the Super Bowl is the most we’ve ever done and by far the most sustainable and NFL green events we’ve ever done,” he said.
The partnership with the NFL and Las Vegas has produced the most community school programs around any Super Bowl. The Super Bowl LVIII Business Connect program focused on connecting small local businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and members of the LGBQT+ community with Super Bowl contracts.
“It ultimately comes down to if we do right by this community by coming here?” O’Reilly said. “Did we create the type of partnership in terms of legacy, which has to live on because we failed if we didn’t do that.”
The A’s Set Out for Vegas
The A’s will call Las Vegas their home starting in 2028 following a drawn-out battle and failed negotiations with the City of Oakland. A’s owner, John Fisher, discussed the potential impacts and opportunities that the A’S in Vegas will bring the city and the sport.
“We are moving at speed trying to move into this design phase and so that we can hopefully open our ballpark in 2028,” Fisher said, noting the high volume of recent meetings with various contractors and architects to build a new stadium.
When asked what prompted him to select Las Vegas as the new home of the A’s, Fisher highlighted its robust sports market. “It’s something that not everybody from outside Las Vegas understands or appreciates, but there’s 2.3 million people here,” Fisher said. “It feels like all of them are baseball fans, which is a really great thing.”
Fisher pointed to the philanthropic opportunities that are presented in Las Vegas. Most recently, the A’s organization has sponsored every Little League team in the State of Nevada. “We think ultimately the success of the A’s is going to depend upon the community really embracing us and feeling like we are a part of the community,” he said.
A more pressing matter is finding an interim home for the A’s prior to their arrival in Las Vegas. The A’s lease of the Oakland Coliseum expires this year while their new stadium in Vegas will only be open in 2028 . “We’re looking at our options right now – we haven’t made a choice,” he said. “I’m not going to be specific about where we’re looking and where we’re not.” The A’s new stadium is slated to be built on the current site of the Tropicana Las Vegas.
Photo credit: Refugio Garcia / Skift Meetings