Garth Brooks and UFC give Las Vegas big back-to-back weekends


Normally there is a tourist lull the week after a three day weekend.

But as everyone knows, 2021 is far from normal, and the weekend after the three-day July 4th vacation has the makings of a blockbuster for Las Vegas.

Credit a super cluster of blockbuster entertainment coming to the city this weekend.

The UFC 264 event at T-Mobile Arena, featuring Conor McGregor-Dustin Poirier. Garth Brooks at Allegiant Stadium. Bruno Mars at MGM Park.

On top of that, former President Donald Trump plans to attend the big fight, UFC President Dana White confirmed Thursday.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority doesn’t have historical data to calculate an estimate of how many people will venture to Las Vegas this weekend, but most observers believe more than 300,000 people were in the city. during the three days of July 4th. vacation. Will another 300,000 be there this weekend?

Test the transport

At the very least, the existing transportation grid will be put to the test with three major events – the Garth Brooks concert, the UFC fights, and Bruno Mars – occurring in venues within a half-hour. mile from each other at about the same time that night. .

But health officials have expressed concern that large crowds have the potential to create super-broadcast events.

Nevada on Thursday reported 697 new cases of coronavirus and two deaths as the state’s test positivity rate continued to rise.

Updated data released by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services on the state’s coronavirus website pushed the state’s total number of cases to 337,259 and showed that the two-week moving average of new COVID-19 cases was increasing to 369 per day.

Thursday’s update also showed the state’s two-week positivity rate, which essentially tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who were found to be infected, continuing its recent rise from 0.3 points percentage to 8.2%. The rate, which broke the 8% threshold for the first time since late February, has risen since it recently hit a low of 3.3% on June 9.

But in general, industry watchers see more positives than negatives.

“Las Vegas is back, travel is back, and American consumers are yearning for a return to normalcy,” said Amanda Belarmino, assistant professor at the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at UNLV.

Sustained growth

“However, the key to sustained growth will be increasing immunization rates statewide and in the United States,” she said. “The upcoming weekend with Garth Brooks and the UFC’s first big fight will demonstrate Las Vegas’ ability to provide world class entertainment and service that truly makes us the most exciting city on the planet.”

The Garth Brooks show, sold out the day tickets first went on sale, is set to be the biggest test, said Josh Swissman, founding partner of the Las Vegas-based Strategy Organization.

“(The Garth Brooks Stadium Show) has about as high a production value as anything out there,” Swissman said. “They have a great team, a lot of equipment and a lot of complexity related to this show, and so that, to me, feels like the big weekend to really demonstrate to the country and to all the people who are considering coming to Vegas that the entertainment is back in Sin City.

The Allegiant Stadium had already had a test concert last weekend when Illenium, a star of electronic dance music, performed there on July 3. But Swissman noted that there could be nearly twice as many people scrambling the arena for Brooks.

“Make no mistake, attracting 40,000 people is no slouch,” said Swissman. “But Garth Brooks is a sold-out flagship event for this arena. I think this will be the first sold-out event in this arena.

There’s also going to be a full house on the street at T-Mobile Arena. Research by Jeremy Aguero, director of Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, indicated that about 12% of crowds attending UFC events are local residents, with the remaining 88% coming from out of town. .

Swissman is confident that the percentage of residents attending the Brooks show will exceed 12%, but due to the high volume of attendees at the show, thousands of people could come to see the country’s superstar.

“It’s always a huge draw for people from out of town, and obviously the seating capacity is way bigger at Allegiant Stadium than at T-Mobile as well,” he said. “These two events alone will bring a significant number of people to the valley.”

Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Las Vegas-based Global Market Advisors, said the heat would be on the cards, both on the Strip and outside this weekend, with the blockbuster entertainment provided. by Brooks, Bruno Mars and UFC 264.

“While we are still in recovery mode, this proves the resilience of the destination and the pent-up demand resulting from the pandemic,” Bussmann said.

Some voids remain

Bussmann said there are still a few holes in the southern Nevada tourist landscape, mostly with meetings and conventions. But the high-level sports and entertainment scene is off to a good start.

“Sport and entertainment remain two strong sectors for the destination,” he said. “This weekend proves that with the T-Mobile Arena and the Allegiant Stadium as assets, our capacity to develop this sector remains strong.

“But challenges remain for our recovery, the biggest hole still being the return of the meetings and conventions segment, but visits remain strong. At this point, sustainability and diversity are key to our long-term efforts. “

Bussmann also noted the problem with the coronavirus lurking in the background.

“We are on track to return, but the increase in cases may limit the current trajectory of our recovery,” he said. “No industry has done better when it comes to health and safety measures, but challenges can still arise with potential government mandates that have recently returned to the conversation. “

Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. To pursue @RickVelotta on Twitter. Review-Journal reporter Jonah Dylan contributed to this report.


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