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Graney: Super Bowl makes Las Vegas Sports Capital of World

Updated December 15, 2021 - 6:53 pm

IRVING, Texas —

Welcome to the Big Time, Las Vegas.

Well, just a lot more of it.

It has been some time coming, the Entertainment Capital of the World also being known as such when it comes to sports.

Believe it: Landing a Super Bowl just carved that title into cement.

It’s official. Las Vegas will host Super Bowl LVIII in 2024 as announced Wednesday as part of the owners’ meetings.

“The first thing I’d like to say is, ‘Las Vegas, the Super Bowl is coming,’” Raiders owner Mark Davis said, his smile stretching from here to Allegiant Stadium. “It’s the most valuable asset the NFL has.”

I still believe this: That unlike other NFL cities, Las Vegas doesn’t necessarily need a Super Bowl. At least not for the same reasons as everyone else. That particular weekend across Southern Nevada annually draws hundreds of thousands of visitors, where the reported economic impact has often been higher than those towns hosting the actual game.

Steve Hill is president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority who on Wednesday said the economic prize in 2024 will be in the range of $500 million, with another $70 million projected in state and local taxes. That’s potentially a big chunk of green.

Week-long party

“It has a local impact,” Hill said. “Room rates are fairly normal during Super Bowl week. But the drive from (hosting) will allow those rates to increase. The spending that takes place around the Super Bowl when the event is in your city will be much greater than without. It’s a week-long celebration and party.

“We’re bringing the greatest sporting event on earth to the greatest arena on earth. It’s going to be spectacular. It’s a priceless opportunity.”

I’ve said it time and again. You want the game. You want the publicity. You want to showcase yourself to the world. You want your city, your people, your businesses, to bask under that illuminating light that comes from hosting a Super Bowl.

This was always going to happen. There is a pretty fixed formula for a team like the Raiders when it comes to who hosts the game of Roman Numerals.

Once you build the league a shiny new stadium and all the revenue streams that go with it, you’re assured of eventually being bestowed the NFL’s biggest bash of a given season.

It’s not a matter of if.

Now, Las Vegas knows when.

I also couldn’t help but think of former Raiders president Marc Badain on Wednesday. The man who spearheaded the team’s relocation from Oakland and the building of Allegiant Stadium.

There is no such venue without Badain’s tireless work. His leadership paved the way.

Badain resigned his position in July after three decades with the organization.

“Marc is a friend,” Hill said. “I hope he’s happy this happened today, because it’s to his credit, as well.”

Said Davis: “We’ve never taken credit away from Marc Badain. I think he, along with (current team president) Dan Ventrelle and (senior vice president/stadium development & operations) Tom Blanda should get a lot of credit. Those three guys really did the work.”

Remember when …

Do you remember that day in October of 2016? The site was Carson City and the impending vote at a special legislative session was in regard to the largest public contribution to a stadium project in U.S. history.

And then the names of 28 state legislators, the number needed to approve the expenditure, appeared in green on a large video screen — paving the way for the Raiders to make Las Vegas home. The city that afternoon stood far closer to landing an NFL franchise than anyone ever imagined possible.

And now, in 2024, it will host its first Super Bowl.

The Big Time just got a whole lot bigger, folks.

Enjoy the world shining its glance our way.

Sports Capital of the World, that’s Vegas.

Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing and can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

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