March Madness in Las Vegas will expand to 23

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There’s nothing quite like getting together with a group of friends at one of Clark County’s 99 sportsbooks to soak up the March Madness hoop festival on big-screen LED TVs.

There’s a generous mix of stadium food, beer, celebrating winning tickets, mocking opponents, commiserating bad beat losses and generally having a good time with friends or people you don’t know. not even from all over the country.

Thanks to the competition, the city’s sports betting product has reached new heights. For four days centered around the weekend, the early rounds of the NCAA college basketball tournament have become the most-bet sporting event on the calendar, even surpassing the Super Bowl in popularity due to its multiple games over a longer period.

Can he get better?

In fact, it can – and will – next year.

A year from now, a portion of the tournament’s middle rounds — the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups — will be played at T-Mobile Arena on the Strip in the West Regional. That means Las Vegas will get all those first-round visits on the first four days of the 2023 tournament and three games next weekend. The winner of the West Regional will go to the Final Four the following week in Houston.

“There’s no better place than Las Vegas where you can bring people together like you can for March Madness or any other major sporting event,” said Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Global Market Advisors, based in Vegas. “And that includes sports betting. As sports betting grows across the United States, it always returns to our destination for events like these three weeks of basketball.

Amanda Belarmino, assistant professor at UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, agrees.

“Even with the legalization of sports betting in the United States, Las Vegas provides a unique venue for March Madness,” she said. “Casinos provide an unparalleled viewing experience for basketball fans where they can easily watch all games in one place with access to a variety of food and drink options.”

After the opportunity next year to host a regional slice of the tournament, there is one more goal the city should aspire to achieve. He must claim the Final Four, the final three games of the NCAA college basketball season.

The Final Four is for big stadiums only – and Las Vegas now has one.

There’s no doubt that the Allegiant Stadium event programming group has inquired about hosting the Final Four. At the moment there is a waiting list.

This year it’s at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, a somewhat heartwarming detail as the NCAA apparently had no hesitation in allowing a venue named after a casino company, a few blocks from Harrah’s. New Orleans, in a state that recently legalized sports betting, to be a host.

Next in line is NRG Stadium in Houston, followed in 2024 by State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, where the Arizona Cardinals are collaborating with BetMGM for on-site sports betting. Then comes the Alamodome in San Antonio in 2025, and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in 2026.

There’s no question that Allegiant Stadium should be in line for a role in the Final Four, especially in light of its credentials as the host of Super Bowl LVIII in 2024.

Let’s not forget the positive impact these special events will have on the local tourism economy.

With average room rates well above the 2021 average on the first weekend of March Madness this year, it’s conceivable that resorts, restaurants and other tourist attractions will see a major boost when these events occur. And the game too.

Think of Las Vegas as the “sports capital of the world” and Allegiant Stadium as a great all-around venue for that boost.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. To follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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