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Everything you need to know about the Super Bowl in Las Vegas

People stand by signage for the Super Bowl as the Bellagio fountains erupt along the Las Vegas Strip ahead of the Super Bowl 58 NFL football game Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, in Las Vegas.
John Locher
People stand by signage for the Super Bowl as the Bellagio fountains erupt along the Las Vegas Strip ahead of the Super Bowl 58 NFL football game Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, in Las Vegas.

The Super Bowl has arrived. Three days from now, the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs battle it out at Allegiant Stadium. And many say this will be the biggest thing to happen in Las Vegas.

Just saying that can be a shock to the system when you think back to just 20 years ago when the NFL wouldn’t allow any advertisement or even mention of Las Vegas during the game.

That, of course, has all changed.

Now, Las Vegas has an NFL team, and the NFL partners with gambling websites. We also have a major stadium. But it's more than just a game for Las Vegas.

The economic impact of hosting the game is predicted to be about a billion dollars, give or take (and depending on who you ask). The question always remains: Do the regular folks of Las Vegas benefit from that revenue infusion, or does it chiefly go to the corporations on the Strip? It's complicated, suggests consultant John Restrepo of RCG Economics.

"Is it a short-term boost to those residents and those workers — or is it a longer-term boost? Let's be honest, we have some of the lowest-wage employees in the country," says Restrepo. "Thirty percent of our jobs are in the resort industry. They do benefit from extra hours that they may have to work, [but] does that mean they're gonna get raises in higher wages? That's really a function of good contracts with the Culinary Union and the other unions. And there are some of these disruptions that we have to think about — businesses that are around the stadium, for example, or in other locations. ... There [were] some negative effects of Formula One, and that's starting to potentially become a lawsuit of some sort. And so it's a pro and con thing."

One boosting that economic impact is Las Vegas' robust entertainment industry. Not only does the city always have countless options for its various stages, venues and nightclubs, it also plans for big weekends like the forthcoming one for the Super Bowl — and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes thinks Las Vegas pulled out all the stops for this one.

"Our headlining roster is pretty stout as it is," says Katsilometes. "[And] the nightclubs are really activated concurrently all around the Strip with their superstar residents and one-off performers as well. ... With U2 is running alongside the Super Bowl and when you look at what the Sphere is brought to the city, and what U2 is internationally, that's a very big deal. We have Adele, who's an international superstar performing during the weekend of the Super Bowl at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, [and] Bruno Mars — when you start adding up the resident headliners who are already here and putting the Super Bowl on top of it, it's a pretty powerful experience."

As for the game itself, it's predicted to draw the largest betting handle in American sports history — $23.1 billion over 68 million bets, according to estimates by the American Gaming Association. And that's just the legal bets taken in only two-thirds of the country.

"That is a huge number," says Mitch Moss, co-host of Follow the Money on Vegas Stats and Information Network. "I mean, they're pretty good at their projections. There are 38 states plus [Washington] D.C. and Puerto Rico with legal sports betting — what are the other states thinking that don't have it?"

And while the odds favor the 49ers, Las Vegas Sports Network commentator Lindsey Brown says all eyes (and cameras) will be on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce — in part because of his attending girlfriend, Taylor Swift, but also because he's likely to give a commanding performance on the field, regardless of the added pressure.

"He's not someone who shies away from tension, he actually thrives on it," says Brown. "I wondered the same thing because the last couple days when [during] opening night, pretty much all the questions [for him] are about Taylor Swift or her new album [and] their relationship. And I think that he's a really well-adjusted man who has perspective and can switch between [the limelight and] what's truly important in that moment. And so I'm sure if [the Chiefs] end up losing, all the people say it's Taylor Swift's fault and all that other stuff. And that's just a bunch of insecure people that don't like women having a presence in a typically male-dominated space."

Guests: John Restrepo, economist; John Katsilometes, entertainment columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Lindsey Brown, co-host, The Morning Tailgate on Las Vegas Sports Network; Mitch Moss, host, Follow the Money on VSiN

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Mike has been a producer for State of Nevada since 2019. He produces — and occasionally hosts — segments covering entertainment, gaming & tourism, sports, health, Nevada’s marijuana industry, and other areas of Nevada life.
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