UNITED STATES NEWS

Las Vegas, where the party never ends, prepares for its biggest yet: Super Bowl 58

Feb 7, 2024, 4:07 AM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas proposed to the NFL in December 2021.

“Let’s just marry these brands, and let’s bring the Super Bowl here,” Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, recalled telling a room of NFL franchise owners.

They said yes.

The betrothal culminates Sunday in a not-so-intimate ceremony at Allegiant Stadium, where the city will host its first-ever Super Bowl. Officials expect it to draw more than 330,000 visitors and generate $600 million in revenue. New records are predicted for hotel room rates, ticket prices and sports betting.

Already known for its lavish blowouts — including New Year’s Eve fireworks set off from multiple casinos at once — the big game has Las Vegas going all out.

Elvis Presley impersonators and showgirls, both Vegas stalwarts, welcomed the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs when they arrived last weekend. A towering replica of the Vince Lombardi Trophy floats in the Bellagio fountains. Mock field goal posts buttress pedestrian bridges on the Strip.

Among the biggest parties planned is the Maxim Casino Royale Experience, which includes an “Ace of Spades” package. It’s a $1 million weekend with transportation by private jet, $75,000 in gambling credits and $10,000 a night in dining credit at Resorts World restaurants. Guests will also enjoy game seats on the 50-yard line.

“There’s no bigger stage in the world,” said Seth Kaplan, a 15-year veteran of global event planning and production. The company he founded and leads, unKommon Events, is orchestrating the Maxim bash.

Celebrities, pro athletes and social media influencers are among the 5,000 people on the guest list, Kaplan said. On Monday, his team of 300 began round-the-clock shifts to build the party venue inside Resorts World’s 80,000-square-foot facility. Rappers 21 Savage and 50 Cent are headlining.

In a city where everything is bigger, better and brighter, Kaplan said he knew he needed to build a venue from scratch to meet expectations. He set out to create a place guests have never been before and will never be able to visit again.

And if Maxim’s $1 million weekend isn’t in the budget, Guy Fieri is hosting a free tailgate near the Strip’s giant ferris wheel. Or for $580, the Little Vegas Chapel offers the chance to dress in team jerseys and be wed by an officiant in referee garb.

Off the Las Vegas Strip, $149 tickets are already gone for a game day party at the Jackpot Bar & Grill, a pub designed for and by a Kansas City Chiefs’ fan.

Through the third quarter of the game, ticket holders can guzzle unlimited drinks and scarf down staples like chicken wings and sliders. But the big draw is a whole roast pig.

Flashing a grin, pub owner Jeff Frederick said party passes have been sold to people from all corners of the U.S. and from as far away as Australia.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us,” he said.

He isn’t alone in his excitement: Parking spots for private jets in and around Las Vegas have all been spoken for. Game tickets have topped $12,000 apiece and are still climbing. As of Tuesday, the average weekend room rate at some casinos, including the Bellagio and Aria, had surpassed $1,400 a night for Friday through Sunday. And all 37,000 rooms at 12 MGM Resorts International properties were sold out for Saturday night.

“It’s incredible,” said Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft. “I grew up in this community and grew up at a time when professional sports teams in Las Vegas were only a pipe dream.”

Now, he says, “the world has embraced Las Vegas as a sports capital.”

Officials in Nevada began planning for their first Super Bowl before construction on Allegiant Stadium was even complete. Unlike other host cities, Las Vegas sited the stadium very close to the city center. The futuristic-looking facility, affectionately nicknamed the Death Star by Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis, is a 10-minute drive from the airport and sits within walking distance of the Strip. It’s accessible by a massive pedestrian-only bridge.

Strolling across that span after a major event like the Super Bowl makes for a memory that can’t be recreated, Naft said.

“If your team won, and you’re walking across that bridge with 40,000 other fans,” he said, “that’s a pretty special experience.”

___

Associated Press videographer Ty O’Neil contributed to this report.

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Las Vegas, where the party never ends, prepares for its biggest yet: Super Bowl 58