Las Vegas’ bet on sports and entertainment is paying dividends by attracting visitors and boosting its economy, according to a report released last week.

The Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance commissioned the “Southern Nevada Sports & Entertainment Outlook,” report that was released at a conference by UNLV Centre for Business and Economic Research.

The total visitor economic impact of those attending events at sports and large-scale entertainment venues have averaged more than US$3.9 billion in 2016 and 2017, according to the study. The same number was US$3.4 billion in 2015 – before the opening of T-Mobile Arena – and US$2.99 billion in 2013.

T-Mobile Arena opened in 2016 and was the top-grossing arena in the world in ticket sales with US$164 million in a 12-month period ending in June 2018, ahead of Madison Square Garden in New York City and O2 Arena in London, the study said.

Las Vegas has 12 venues and arenas with a combined seating for 260,000 people. Stadium and arena capacity will grow to 352,000 in 15 venues by 2020.

The study said the visitor spending impact reflects the total importance of the venues and estimates that 28 percent of those visitors would be considered incremental. That incremental impact approached US$1.1 billion in 2016 and 2017, up from US$824 million in 2013. With the opening of three more facilities by 2020.

“There is a significant amount of research indicating that sports and entertainment are not the only things that visitors do while they are in Las Vegas but, in many cases, are the reason they choose to come to Las Vegas,” the study said.

As an example, the study cited the August 2017 welterweight matchup between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC champion Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena. The event generated roughly US$150.9 million in incremental economic impact that included hotel accommodations, dining, shopping, gambling and transportation.

“The value of that experience, from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave matters,” according to the study. “Las Vegas is already benefiting from incremental travel decisions based on special events and sporting events with throngs of opposing teams’ fans visible at Vegas Golden Knights games and out-of-state Raiders fans buying up large blocks of season tickets.”

The diversity of special events in Southern Nevada is what allows the local venues to continue to draw out-of-town visitors to the area, the study noted. It cited a profile study from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority that showed 6 percent of the approximately 43 million visitors that come to Las Vegas have the primary purpose of attending a special event.

In 2017, an estimated 18,000 direct positions and 28,600 aggregate jobs were supported by the sports and entertainment industry.

Source: Buck Wargo CDC Gaming Reports