‘Las Vegas is the perfect home for the Super Bowl’

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Sporting Tribune's Arash Markazi writes Las Vegas not only shined as a Super Bowl host but will likely host it again soon.

LAS VEGAS – I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Super Bowl in Las Vegas. It’s a moment the city has been preparing for since Dec. 15, 2021 when the NFL announced Super Bowl LVIII would be played at Allegiant Stadium.

I figured Las Vegas would do well as a host city but I also know Vegas isn’t for everyone so it was hard to tell how fans, teams, media and league officials would take being in Sin City for a week when many joke they can only take it for 48 hours.

In the end, Las Vegas not only shined but established itself as the “perfect home for the Super Bowl.”

Here are 13 random observations from Super Bowl week in Las Vegas:

1. I tweeted this before Super Bowl Opening Night on Monday but the league loves Las Vegas as a Super Bowl host city and has unofficially already included it in their regular host city rotation that includes Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans and Tampa. Those four cities have hosted (or will host) 36 of the first 61 Super Bowls and it would have been more if Los Angeles wasn’t out of the mix for 25 years.

What does that mean? Cities bid to host the Super Bowl every year. The league usually rewards teams and cities that build new stadiums with a Super Bowl. Some of those cities are one-and-done like Jacksonville, New Jersey and Indianapolis. Other cities have hosted the game twice because they’ve had two new stadiums over the past 40 years like Detroit and Minneapolis. But the league generally likes to play the hits when it comes to Super Bowl host cities and Las Vegas has already established itself as a hit.    

2. One league official went so far as to tell me, “Las Vegas is the perfect home for the Super Bowl.” What the league loves about Las Vegas is what many fans love about it as well. The footprint makes it one of the easiest Super Bowl cities to navigate. Most of the events surrounding the Super Bowl took place along the four-mile Las Vegas Strip. That means once you landed at Harry Reid International Airport and took a shuttle or rideshare to your hotel you could basically walk or take the monorail or tram to most of the events around town. Sure, you can also take a cab and get stuck in traffic but you have options.  

3. So when will the Super Bowl be back in Las Vegas? Well, it will be at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans in 2025, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. in 2026 and SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif in 2027. The new Nissan Stadium in Nashville and the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami are favorites to host it in 2028 and 2029. So, you’re probably looking at 2030 at the earliest. While that might seem like a quick turnaround, SoFi Stadium hosted the Super Bowl in 2022 and will host again in 2027.  

4. As much as Las Vegas has grown over the past seven years, going from a city without a single major professional sports franchise to being the home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights (defending Stanley Cup champions) and WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces (defending back-to-back WNBA champions), it will look even more different when the Super Bowl returns.

By then, Las Vegas will likely be the home of the MLB’s Athletics, which are slated to move into a new stadium where the Tropicana currently sits, and an NBA expansion team. A high-speed rail line connecting Las Vegas to Los Angeles is also expected to open by then with the station just south of the Las Vegas Strip slated to next to a new muti-billion dolllar NBA arena.

5. The designated media hotel during the Super Bowl was the Luxor and while many had a good laugh about that given that the front of the hotel was platered with a giant Dorito ad, it was a perfect hotel for the media given it’s location and rates. I’ve stayed at far worst media hotels over the years.

The hotel is a convenient walk across the bridge from Allegiant Stadium and is connected to the Mandalay Bay, which was the home of the media center, radio row, NFL Experience and other Super Bowl activations. It also had the cheapest per night rate of any media hotel I’ve ever seen as it was $37 per night if you checked in Monday and checked out Thursday. It was obviously more expensive on the weekend but still far below normal Super Bowl rates for a hotel walking distance to the stadium.

6. While the Las Vegas Strip was the focus for most during Super Bowl week, it was also was the first time many got to see (or find out about) Lake Las Vegas. The Kansas City Chiefs stayed at the Westin Lake Las Vegas while the San Francisco 49ers stayed at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas. Both hotels are located about 25 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. It’s not exactly the most convenient location if you want to party on the Las Vegas Strip but the prefect location if you’re trying to keep players from doing so while also staying at an upscale hotel with picturesque views of the mountains and water.  

7. One of the best aspects about the Super Bowl in Las Vegas compared to the F1 dissaster in Las Vegas was that the entire Strip got some love with various events and parties taking place as far south as the Mandalay Bay and as far north as the Sahara. The Foundation Room at the Mandalay Bay hosted one of the first parties of the week on Wednesday with the “Fred Minnick & Friends Big Game Bourbon” event which featured Vanderpump Rules’ Tom Sandoval as a celebrity guest bartender and Charles Woodson singing Michigan’s fight song on stage. The next night the Playmaker Party presented by FHM, which featured Michael Irvin, Chuck Lidell and several FHM models, took place at the Sahara.

8. Most of the parties during Super Bowl weeks took place at hotels and clubs along the Las Vegas Strip, but The h.wood Group held their annual “h.wood Homecoming” Super Bowl party on Friday and Saturday in a 45,000 square-foot tent built on a lot across the street from the Wynn. The party attracted Davante Adams, Russell Westbrook, Joe Burrow, Lamar Odom, Odell Beckham Jr. and the best product placement of the weekend as waiters passed around Taco Bell to guests partying past midnight.

9. While the Chiefs prepared for the Super Bowl by staying at the Westin Lake Las Vegas, their friends and family stayed at Resorts World, which hosted the team’s after-party at Zouk as well as the annual NFL Honors awards shows and the Maxim Big Game Experience party. The Maxim party featured performances by 21 Savage and 50 Cent and a guest listed that included Megan Fox, Machine Gun Kelly Gabrielle Union, T-Pain, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson and C.J. Stroud.

10. Arguably the best people watching location of the week was at the Wynn and Encore where many league owners and executives stayed and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held his annual party. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones basically advertised his residency there by parking the Cowboys’ RV under the Encore sign during the week. Wynn and Encore were also the home of Shaquille O’Neal’s annual Shaq’s Fun House party, Sports Illustrated The Party and Rob Gronkowski’s Gronk Beach day party.

11. Speaking of Kelce, one of the best parties of the week was put on Wave Sports +Entertainment, the media company behind Travis and Jason Kelce’s popular “New Heights” podcast. They turned The Space in Las Vegas into a “Kelce House Party,” as the tehater was made to look like the Kelce’s living room similar to where they grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Jason was front and center greeting guests as they walked ithrough the doors and showed them around a room that featured a Super Nintendo with Madden 95 and a CD player blasting 1990s hip hop. Whether it’s next season or the season after that, Jason Kelce, who met with ESPN and Fox Sports in Las Vegas, is going to be an incredible broadcaster.   

12. The two big things you can’t control when you bid to host the Super Bowl is the weather and how the game will actually turn out. It was cold, windy and raining for most of Super Bowl week in Las Vegas but ended up being a sunny 55 degress on game day. If the Super Bowl was held this week, it would have been perfect all week and 75 dgrees and sunny on Sunday. You win some, you lose some. While the weather might not have been ideal in Las Vegas. the ending of the Super Bowl could not have been scripted any better. You simply can’t beat a walk-off touchdown on the final play in overtime.

13. As much as I thought Las Vegas woud do well as a Super Bowl host, I have been pleasntly surprised by the number of media members from ESPN to The Ringer that have said Las Vegas should host the Super Bowl every year. While that obviously isn’t going to happen, it drives home the point that it is the perfect host city. It might have taken 58 years for the Super Bowl to be played in Las Vegas but the city likely won’t have to much more than 5 to 8 years before the Super Bowl returns.