Las Vegas has become the center of the sports world and Sin City has everything it needs to make the biggest events bigger.
Vegas, of course, has everything at scale.
That may seem like it’s not a big deal, but major events can overwhelm all but the biggest cities.
Jacksonville, for example, hosted Super Bowl XXXIX and it lacked the hotels and restaurants to support the massive influx of fans leading to gridlock and people have to stay quite a distance away.
Only a few cities, arguably maybe just Las Vegas and Orlando, have the infrastructure to not only host a huge event but make it easy and walkable.
It’s not simply about having a lot of hotel rooms, but having them close enough together — along with dining and entertainment — to make the experience a positive one that’s not marred by traffic and long lines.
Las Vegas certainly has traffic, but once you get to your hotel on The Strip, many others are an easy walk. You can stay at pretty much any Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Caesars Entertainment Inc Report or MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get MGM Resorts International Report Strip property and get to all the others easily.
That makes the city an ideal location for huge events and it’s about to host one as Caesars prepares to host the National Football League (NFL) Draft. The center of the draft, the NFL Draft Theater, will sit on The Strip behind the High Roller and The LINQ, adjacent to Caesars Forum.
It’s a very central location that’s in the middle of a number of Caesars properties and walking distance from most of MGM’s portfolio, not to mention The Venetian and even Wynn (WYNN) – Get Wynn Resorts, Limited Report.
That should make the NFL draft, which kicks off April 28 and runs for three days, a huge event not just for Caesars, but for all the Strip operators.
What Will a Las Vegas NFL Draft Look Like?
Caesars won’t have a lot of trouble making the draft a bigger spectacle than it was last year when the NFL opted to put its signature off-season event in Cleveland.
And while the Mistake on the Lake has its charms, Vegas has it beat before a single venue gets built. That said, Caesars has some massive plans.
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The key venue will be the NFL Draft Theater, where fans and invited prospects will gather to watch the picks unfold.
The Draft Theater will host the top prospects as they get drafted and walk across the stage.
Following each round, the theater stage will also host free, live concerts by world-renowned performers as part of the NFL Draft Concert Series,” Caesars shared in a press release.
Caesars will also host the NFL Draft Experience, a free, three-day football festival that offers fans “the ultimate experience featuring interactive games, food, and one-of-a-kind festivities including celebrity autograph sessions and live entertainment for the entire family.”
It’s the NFL Draft on an even larger stage with all sorts of events both official and unofficial. It’s going to be a massive party with Caesars at the heart of it, but MGM benefiting as well.
“We are proud of our history-making partnership with the NFL and we’re excited to play an integral role with the league in Las Vegas going forward, a market so key to the Caesars family,” Co-President of Caesars Digital Chris Holdren told TheStreet via email.
“The NFL is the biggest game in sports, and it felt natural for us, as Caesars Entertainment, to work with them to create something special in the gaming space.”
A Huge Opportunity to Highlight Sports Betting
The NFL, along with the rest of the major sports leagues, have embraced sports betting in ways that were unthinkable just a few years ago.
Now, with more states legalizing sports betting, it has lost its stigma, and the NFL has fully embraced gambling and the money associated with it.
Caesars made it very clear that the NFL no longer considers gambling something that’s not fully part of its sports.
“Caesars Sportsbook is the first sportsbook operator to host its own activation space inside the Draft Experience,” the company said.
Additionally, The LINQ Promenade will offer a remote Caesars Sportsbook location during Draft week featuring self-service betting kiosks as well as food, beverage, and merchandise pop-ups across the Promenade.”
The Draft also comes with its own set of bets, many of which Sports Illustrated detailed. Having gambling literally on-site at the Draft marks a first for the league.
“Oddsmakers offer everything ranging from how many players from each position will be drafted to who will be drafted first at their respective position to the over/under of individual players’ overall draft number,” wrote SI’s Frankie Taddeo.