Super Bowl LVII is over and the Kansas City Chiefs are this year’s kings of the pro football world. But before the champagne had even soaked into the carpets at State Farm Stadium, focus drifted across the desert to Las Vegas, which will host its first Super Bowl next year at Allegiant Stadium.
“I think I’d be making a mistake underestimating Las Vegas and how big a Super Bowl there will be,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said before this year’s game. “Anything that happens in Vegas is big.”
Vegas is renowned for hosting high profile events. The streets are sure to be jammed, much like this week in downtown Phoenix and north Scottsdale where hundreds of thousands of people crowded The Valley.
That was in part because the TCP Scottsdale simultaneously hosted the WM Phoenix Open, which ended not long before kickoff with Scottie Scheffler winning the tournament for the second year in a row. Hours later, the Chiefs defeated the Eagles 38-35.
The NBA hosted an All-Star Game in Vegas in 2007, and the game, played in front of 15,694 at the Thomas & Mack Center, was an artistic success, with the late Kobe Bryant scoring 31 points and winning game MVP. But the fans who swarmed the city created a crowded mess. Streets were impassable and a reported 400 people were arrested. Former mayor Oscar Goodman, who talked late NBA commissioner David Stern into bringing in the game, ultimately called it “a disastrous weekend.”
But that was 16 years ago and since then things have changed. Hockey came to the desert and has been a roaring success, the Vegas Golden Knights average a just above capacity 18,821 every night at T-Mobile Arena, located just off the strip.
The Raiders arrived from Oakland and the community funded a $1.9 billion stadium just off downtown that seats 65,000 for a regular season game and will expand to 71,835 for the Super Bowl. Along with the Raiders, the NFL has already staged a draft on the strip and the last two Pro Bowls were at Allegiant Stadium. A Formula One Grand Prix is set to race along the 4.23 mile Strip in November.
The NBA could be coming with an expansion team soon as the Oak View Group continues its plans on a privately funded $2 billion arena, hotel and casino complex south of the Strip.
This isn’t your grandfather’s Las Vegas.
“The draft there was extraordinary for us,” Goodell said. “The Pro Bowl last week was incredibly well done. We had 52,000 people there, paying customers who really enjoyed the experience. They wrapped their arms around it. The players and their families loved being there. It was a great location for us. The Raiders facility was extraordinary. The stadium is the best of the best. The Pro Bowl was a pivotal moment for us.”
The Arizona Super Bowl was the fourth in the area and the third in the current facility, which was opened in 2006 for the Cardinals at the cost to Glendale of $455 million. This year’s game was sandwiched between championship games at spanking new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles last year and Allegiant next year, which was also christened in 2020.
The 2025 game is slated for New Orleans, but after that the schedule is wide open and Goodell promised new commitments by the end of the year. “We need more years, because they just get bigger and bigger, so we need a little bit more of a runway to do some of the planning,” Goodell said.
Phoenix will certainly be back on the list.
“I’ve got to tell you this community has opened it arms,” Goodell said. “This is a wonderful community, a diverse community, the indigenous communities we are so proud to partner with them also. [These guys have done] an extraordinary job.”