Saturday, March 07, 2015

2015 Conference Tournaments in Las Vegas

March Madness gets a lot of attention in Las Vegas, as thousands of College Basketball fans descend upon Las Vegas for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Recently Las Vegas has become a popular destination in the weeks leading up to the big dance, as more and more conferences decide to hold their conference tournaments in Sin City. Four conferences are holding their men's basketball tournaments in Las Vegas for 2015.

Holding college sporting events in Las Vegas used to be controversial but that stigma seems to be going away. MGM CEO Jim Murren has even talked about Las Vegas hosting the NCAA Tournament once the new MGM arena is completed.

2015 Las Vegas Men's Basketball Conference Tournaments:

West Coast Conference Tournament
Orleans Arena
March 6-10

WAC Tournament
Orleans Arena
March 12-14

Mountain West Tournament
Thomas and Mack Center
March 11-14

Pac-12 Tournament
MGM Grand Garden Arena
March 11-14

Friday, March 06, 2015

Rock in Rio 2015 Lineup Announced

The Rock in Rio USA music festival has announced its 2015 lineup. The two weekend festival has been divided into a Rock weekend May 8-9 and a Pop weekend May 15-16.

The Rock headliners are Metallica, No Doubt and Linkin Park. The Pop headliners are Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran.

Rock in Rio originated in Rio de Janeiro back in 1985 and has since expanded to Lisbon and Madrid. Las Vegas will host the first USA edition of the festival.

The festival is being held at what is being called "City of Rock" which is essentially an empty lot on the Las Vegas Strip directly across from SLS. City of Rock is owned by a partnership led by MGM Resorts International.

For the full lineup, check out Rock In Rio.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Jon Taffer Opening Las Vegas Bar

Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue TV fame will be opening a Las Vegas bar in the coming months. Taffer talked about the nightclub industry in a recent three part interview with Robin Leach.

Although the new yet unnamed venue will likely be considered more of a bar than a nightclub, Taffer hinted that the bar would have a dance floor, which would allow it to take advantage of the red hot nightclub market and allow the bar to stay hopping well into the morning hours.

Taffer also seems to think there is great opportunity for new bars to cater to the under served mid-market crowd in Las Vegas. With high priced nightclubs being all the rage lately, the mid-market seems to be ignored somewhat. Taffer thinks giving people a better value would let them make more return trips to Las Vegas.

Viewers of Bar Rescue might not know that Jon Taffer lives in Las Vegas. He was a founder of the Nightclub & Bar Show - one of the largest trade conventions for that industry. The 30th annual edition of the Nightclub & Bar Show will take place in Vegas from March 30 to April 1, 2015.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Riviera Closing May 4, 2015

The Riviera will be closing on May 4, 2015. The historic Las Vegas hotel was recently purchased for 182.5 million by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). The Riviera will be imploded as early as June to make way for the Las Vegas Global Business District. The Business District will cost a whopping 2.3 Billion dollars and will extend the existing convention center all the way out to the Las Vegas Strip.

It's always sad to see a classic Las Vegas property close down, but it isn't unexpected. The Riviera has been struggling badly for some time now. The aging casino combined with a bad location made the Riviera seem like a ghost town on most nights recently.

The Riviera could have benefited from a North Strip turnaround, but the cavalry led by Resorts World didn't show up in time. As much as I would have liked to see a comeback story from the Riv, this convention center expansion is probably a better outcome for everyone involved. A 2.3 Billion dollar project could just be the kickstart needed for the North Strip revitalization that we've been waiting on for years now.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

High Roller Averaging 5000 Riders Per Day

On a recent earnings call, Caesars Entertainment revealed the High Roller observation wheel attraction is averaging 5000 riders per day.

The High Roller is the centerpiece of The Linq pedestrian walkway between Flamingo and the newly renamed Linq Hotel (formerly The Quad and Imperial Palace before that).

While 5000 riders is below the 10000 riders originally projected for the High Roller, ridership is growing - up 10% from the previous quarter.

Caesars executives commented about how challenging the marketing aspect of the attraction is, with ridership varying drastically depending on seasonality and demographics. It's possible that once the marketing is fully optimized that 10000 daily riders wouldn't be out of the question as a long term goal.

5000 average daily riders adds up to 1.825 million riders a year, which means roughly 5% of Las Vegas visitors end up riding the High Roller. That seems like an OK number, but Caesars will definitely want to push that higher if they want to fully optimize The Linq.