Allegiant Stadium turned out to be the perfect location to host the Vegas Chamber’s Preview Las Vegas event.
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Steve Hill and R&R Partners Director Billy Vassiliadis told more than 1,000 Preview attendees on Tuesday that the $2 billion stadium exemplifies the one of the reasons it was built with the help of $750 million in public funds from hotel room taxes. .
Public investment, they said, pays off.
Hill and Vassiliadis spoke about tourism during the closing session of the Vegas Chamber’s largest annual networking and forecasting event.
They said the stadium has already done what supporters of its construction thought it would do, from bringing thousands of fans to NFL games and sold-out concerts to soon hosting the NFL’s biggest game, the Super Bowl, in 2024.
On Tuesday, the indoor sports venue showed off its versatility by hosting a trade show on its artificial turf with a stage near the pitch’s goal line.
It set the stage for Hill and Vassiliadis to share how far the city’s relationship with the NFL has come and the opportunities that await Southern Nevada when international flights to and from Harry Reid International Airport return a once the pandemic has cooled.
“I know it’s Preview, but I have to tell you that I believe the past is prologue,” Vassiliadis said.
He then talked about some of the accomplishments Las Vegas has made over the years in the face of adversity.
“After 9/11, we were the first airport to be certified to be reopened. Our occupation has started to climb to the highest in the country,” he said. “The community came together during the October 1 tragedy and we recovered in record time. Then came the recession. And you look at this pandemic and the amount of work that has been done during it. We opened three new properties (Circa, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and Resorts World Las Vegas). Look at the opening of the convention center in the middle and its underground transportation system. The fact that we always bounce back stronger.
Not just resilience
Vassiliadis said it’s not just resilience that has pushed Southern Nevada to greater heights.
“It’s creativity. It’s risk taking. Is dared. It’s innovative. It’s bold,” he said. “We’re not backing down, whether it was Sheldon Adelson who decided to put a convention center on the Strip (The Venetian Expo) when everyone thought he was crazy. Crazy! You will never make money from this (according to reviews). They thought putting a volcano (The Mirage) on the Strip at a cost of a billion dollars would be a complete failure.
“A billion dollars is the bet now to build on the Las Vegas Strip,” Vassiliadis said.
“You look at people who said, ‘Let’s build a stadium. Let’s take an NFL team. Let’s bring a hockey team here. You look at the various businesses that have opened up with confidence, whether it’s a data center or warehousing and transfer and retail and interesting restaurants, people here who have always thought that they could build the dream, dreamed it and did it.
The atmosphere in Las Vegas today was the same as in the late 1990s, Vassiliadis said.
“We reinvented this destination three or four times in the 90s,” he said. “We’re currently in the midst of a reinvention that will make the ’90s feel like it’s gone.”
Football a big draw
And what does the future hold for us? Hill expects international travelers to embrace Las Vegas as “the greatest arena in the world” as much as domestic travelers.
After his session, Hill said he expected football’s global popularity to be one of the next phases of growth when international travel rebounds. Due to the lack of space at Allegiant Stadium, he does not expect Las Vegas to host a FIFA World Cup. But even international “friendlies” could draw huge crowds, as evidenced by the 2021 Gold Cup final between Mexico and the United States which sold out the stadium in 90 minutes.
Earlier, attendees received a boost from a Las Vegas economist and Governor Steve Sisolak.
Brian Gordon, Director of Applied Analysis, summed up the difficult road the local economy has been on since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but offered a glimmer of optimism with the trends he anticipates. in 2022.
Gordon pointed to increased domestic tourist spending and an estimated $21.9 billion in local construction projects underway in southern Nevada as reasons for optimism about the local economy’s immediate future.
He also said local residents have joined their peers nationwide who have discovered new personal wealth through investments in the stock market and real estate.
Of the construction projects, $9.9 billion is currently underway — the Fontainebleau complex, MSG Sphere at the Venetian, Henderson’s Dollar Loan Center and UNLV Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine — and $11.9 billion projects in the planning stage.
Headwinds to Inflation
The higher cost of goods was caused by supply chain issues, Gordon said. He also noted that while personal wealth has increased thanks to rising home values, it is a double-edged sword as many homeowners can no longer afford to upgrade.
Regional growth occurred following the immigration of approximately 50,000 new residents, most of them from the west. But at the same time, the labor market has struggled and the pandemic has wiped out thousands of jobs, especially in the leisure and hospitality categories.
Sisolak said Nevada now leads the nation in economic growth, thanks to some of the recruiting efforts of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.
“In some ways, it feels like time has stood still,” Sisolak said of the time since the pandemic began in early 2020. “But the future is as bright as it’s ever been. summer.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is a sponsor of Preview Las Vegas.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson, widow of Sheldon Adelson and majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian Expo. The MSG Sphere is a Madison Square Garden and Las Vegas Sands project.