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Las Vegas should want a Super Bowl, but it doesn’t need one

Updated February 3, 2018 - 6:38 pm


It is certain with the building of an NFL stadium and arrival of the Raiders, the NFL will award Las Vegas a Super Bowl.

That’s part of the deal, after all.

You hand billionaire owners a shiny new structure, and they let you host the biggest party of a given season, one of the largest carrots the NFL dangles in front of cities deciding whether to spend tax dollars on a stadium plan.

But when it comes to Southern Nevada and the game of Roman Numerals, think of it as your favorite junk food: Las Vegas might want a Super Bowl, but it definitely doesn’t need one.

At least not for the same reasons everyone else does.

New England and Philadelphia meet in Super Bowl LII on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, and the thinking goes, Las Vegas will get its chance at a season’s final game within a four-year window of 2022 to 2025.

Minneapolis is projecting an economic impact of $250 million to $400 million for hosting, and yet with any such report, many who study these things believe them inaccurate and overinflated.

In 2015, Arizona reported that more than $700 million was pumped into its economy during Super Bowl XLIX and the Pro Bowl, played the previous week.

Speaking of warm weather climates that folks love to visit, could Las Vegas pull off such a double?

But here are some other numbers, as reported by the Review-Journal: Las Vegas expects 311,000 visitors this weekend in the valley, many to make wagers on the game. It would mark an increase of 2,000 people from last year, and the highest Super Bowl visitation since 2000.

And this: The reported total economic impact for this will be $410.1 million, meaning Las Vegas very well could make more off a game that Minnesota took three years preparing to host.

Look. It’s the Super Bowl. You want it. You want the opportunity in a unique manner to showcase your city and state to the planet. You want to benefit from lasting NFL legacy contributions, where the league will do things like build fields for children in the host city and support schools in a way that lasts for years to come.

You want to stand on that sort of rarefied stage, because it’s impossible to put a price tag on how perception and its long-term influence positively affects those hosting a Super Bowl.

“I would say from the moment they give you the game, it’s important to set goals about what is important to your city,” said Maureen Bausch, CEO of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. “What do you want the world to know about your city, your people, your businesses?

“It takes a lot of work and planning and resources and thousands of dedicated volunteers. I feel bad for cities that have had only two years to prepare. We had three and used every last minute. Hopefully, every last detail can be covered and taken care of. But if you use the platform the NFL gives you, the actual end product can be better than the renderings.”

Oh, yes. The platform.

The league not only gives you a book of guidelines the size of the Rosetta Stone, but within such a monstrosity exists those demands the NFL makes for the honor of hosting.

Which might be difficult for some in Las Vegas — who already turn a tidy profit during Super Bowl weekend — to swallow.

A few examples of what Minneapolis provided the NFL this past week, free of charge:

■ Police escorts for team owners.

■ Use of presidential suites at the city’s top hotels. (That should go over well for Strip venues that charge $400 a night for a standard room during Super Bowl weekend.)

■ 35,000 parking spaces.

■ All revenue from ticket sales to the game.

■ Two bowling venues.

■ Portable cellphone towers.

■ Advertising space from local newspapers and radio stations.

And that’s just a small portion of it.

In Arizona, it was two free championship-level golf courses for the week.

It’s all part of the deal. You want the game, you foot the bill and assemble an organizing committee smart and savvy enough to pull it off while ensuring those economic impact numbers come out in your favor.

Look. It’s the Super Bowl. You definitely want it.

Las Vegas should want it.

It just doesn’t need it, is all.

Not near as much as everyone else.

It already has the Super Bowl every year.

You know, just without the teams.

Contact columnist Ed Graney 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 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

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