Vegas News January 26th 2020
What a week in Las Vegas! You may remember that my week started with an amazing flight to Vegas from Los Angeles on JSX. As you may have read, the experience was fantastic and stress-free, unlike most flights I’ve taken. That experience seemed to set the tone for what would hectic week in Las Vegas. Let’s just get to it.
Las Vegas Is A Football Town
This week marked the beginning of Las Vegas becoming a football town. On Tuesday, the NFL announced details on the NFL Draft in Las Vegas. The event will take place from April 23 through April 25. There will be a stage constructed on Lake Bellagio. This will be used as a red carpet stage. The NFL Draft Main Stage and NFL Draft Experience will take place next to Caesars Forum near the High Roller Observation Wheel at The Linq .
NFL Draft Experience
The NFL Draft Experience is a three-day football festival highlighted by interactive games, the Vince Lombardi Trophy, autograph sessions with NFL players and Legends, brand activations, giveaways, and the NFL Shop. This should be the first retail location where you will be able to buy official Las Vegas Raiders merch.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimates that 750,000 people will visit Las Vegas for the draft. That’s quite a lofty guess even though they expect “only” 350,000 people each of the first two days of the draft. One of the busiest nights of the year in Las Vegas is New Year’s Eve when about 400,000 people are in Las Vegas. While the number of people sounds crazy, this estimate compares to 600,000 people that visited Nashville for the NFL Draft in 2019.
Regardless of the accuracy of the attendance estimate, there are a few things to note. Visiting the NFL draft will be a cluster. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the Vegas Strip will be closed in both directions from Flamingo Road to the entrance of Paris Las Vegas. Flamingo Road will also be shut down from Koval Lane to the Strip.
Hotel room rates seem to be similar to New Year’s Eve prices. At last check, a room at Circus Circus was $179 for the first two nights of the draft. That’s more than $100 more per night than the price Circus Circus is charging the day before the draft. The Cosmopolitan requires a 2-night stay on 23rd and 24th. Rooms are $650 per night.
On Wednesday, the Raiders announced that they are now the Las Vegas Raiders. This was mostly just a ceremonious affair. They announced that Las Vegas Raiders merchandise will be available when for the first time when the NFL Draft hits Las Vegas.
MGM Resorts Announcement
Later in the week, MGM Resorts announced that they are an official gaming partner Las Vegas Raiders. They are also now a founding partner with Allegiant Stadium. There will be an MGM Club inside the stadium. MGM Resorts will also be “An Official Home of the Raiders Pre- and Post-Game Party.”
Related: Billboard looks at Allegiant Stadium as a concert venue.
Circa Announces Restaurants
This week Circa announced that it will have five restaurants when it opens. Many of the names will sound familiar:
- Barry’s Downtown Prime – This steakhouse will be Chef Barry S. Dakake’s first downtown Las Vegas restaurant. You may remember him as the man in the kitchen at N9NE at Palms.
- 8 East – This will be the first pan-Asian restaurant from Chef Dan Coughlin. You may or may not know he’s the man behind Le Thai in the Fremont East part of downtown Las Vegas.
- Victory Burger & Wings Co – This sports bar and restaurant is brought to you by the people behind American Coney Island at The D. Maybe they’ll serve a variety of Victory Beers.
- Saginaw’s Delicatessen – This will be the first new restaurant outside Michigan from the folks behind Ann Arbor’s famed Zingerman’s. It also appears as though The Coffee Stand at The D serving Zingerman’s will be more than just a stand soon.
- Project BBQ – You’re probably familiar with Project BBQ if you’ve been to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center or the temporary location next to Circa. This will become the first permanent food truck and Carolina barbecue joint on the Fremont Street Experience.
This restaurant collection hits just about every dining craving that I have. Burgers, wings, steak, and BBQ hit just about everything I’m in the mood for on a regular basis. I don’t crave Asian food often but the short rib fried rice at Le Thai is fantastic and I’m looking forward to what 8 East has to offer.
I’m still holding out hope for an amazing lobby lounge like I saw when in LA at 1 Hotel West Hollywood. I took the video in the morning before people were awake. The scene was amazing the night before. People were working, meeting, drinking, eating and just relaxing. It’s a great way for a business to monetize space while giving people a reason to visit the hotel even if they’re not staying.
You can read more about the restaurants here.
New Sports Book And Second Floor Renovations At The D
This week I made my annual appearance on the Beating The Book podcast. They normally talk sports betting but this episode discusses sports books, dining, shows, and more. Much of the podcast is opinion based but there was some news revealed. Well, news of news that will be further revealed. The second floor of The D will undergo renovations after the Super Bowl.
You already know that the showroom is closed and will become a new sports book. It appears there will be more renovations taking place. There will be a new sports bar and a new studio built on the second floor at The D. Specifics on the renovations will be revealed after the Super Bowl. At this point, the new sports bar is expected to open on March 16. Expect to hear more in a couple of weeks.
You can listen to the podcast here.
A New Look At Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
The Hard Rock will close after the Super Bowl next week. The casino-resort is going out with a bang. They have a full weekend planned to celebrate the Hard Rock. You can see the events here if you’ll be in town and want to say goodbye.
Sir Richard Branson recently made a blog post about Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. While the words don’t share much new information there is a new look at what the hotel rooms (AKA “Chambers”) will look like when Virgin opens. The post also has a rendering of the pool.
Quick Hits – Vegas News
I rarely enjoy sweet coffee drinks but it’s 70 degrees out in January so what the hay! OMG, this is delicious! I don’t know how people drink this every day but the sugar-free caramel mocha (not sugar-free) is amazing! Anyway, here’s more news you may have missed in and around Las Vegas.
- Depending on when you read this, Las Vegas could have a new slogan. Read more here.
- Facial recognition in Las Vegas sounds like fun. Read more here.
- Believe it or not, all sports betting people aren’t cool. Read about one of those people here.
- VICI (Caesars’ REIT) purchased two Cleveland casinos. It’s a real estate deal. Read more here.
- More on that Binion’s show I mentioned last week. Read about it here.
- Hey, The Strat makeover is complete and they had the best come out to celebrate. Read more here.
- Oh snap, the Jonas Brothers will have a residency at Park MGM. Read more here.
- Palms Casino Resort is losing money. Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos is looking for money. Read more here.
- Remember those issues at KAOS at Palms? Read more about it here.
- Keith Urban added 4 more shows to his Caesars Palace Residency. Read more here.
- Buffalo Wild Wings is finally under construction at Mandalay Bay. Read more here.
- Interesting article on new tech for Vegas residencies. Read it here.
- David Chang’s Moon Palace is now open at The Palazzo. The sliders are PHENOMENAL. Read more here.