FOX Sports Insider
LAS VEGAS — It’s Super Bowl week, which means the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are starting to feel that jittery feeling as football’s biggest show quickly approaches.
As Super Bowl LVIII winds down in Sin City, golfers are fine-tuning their short games, boxers are making their grueling weight cuts, hockey players are licking their wounds, and Power Slap “athletes” are doing whatever do to prepare. for combat (more on Power Slap later).
Savvy sports promoters realized long ago that scheduling events in the Super Bowl city during the week of football’s biggest holiday is a great way to tap into a ready audience looking for a good time, and what is essentially a giant sports-business convention. With Vegas hosting this year, it’s kicked things up a notch.
“From our perspective, it’s unbelievable,” veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum told me over the phone. Arum’s Top Rank is hosting the WBO junior welterweight title fight between Teofimo Lopez and Jamaine Ortiz on Thursday at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena, just steps from the Super Bowl media center.
Arum continued, “You have all the advertising executives, all the television executives, all the marketing and business people, all in one part of the same city at the same time. Then you have 350,000 people coming into town that already known to be athletes. fans. I know we’re not the only ones who think this way, but it makes perfect business sense.”
He is right. In addition to the boxing card, LIV Golf’s cash competitors will play Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the nearby Las Vegas Country Club, taking advantage of the fortunate timing with the rain finally dispersing.
The LIV event’s midweek pro-am features current NFL players Derek Carr and Will Levis, as well as prospect Drake Maye expected to participate. Design-wise, it looks to borrow from the success of the PGA Tour’s WM Open in Phoenix, which boasts a raucous party-style atmosphere and coincided with the Super Bowl last year and in 2015.
“I think it’s us trying to create a spectacle for the United States,” 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau told reporters. “I think we haven’t been highlighted enough here in the States, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the reaction is going to be with soccer fans and Vegas fans.”
Was the 49ers or Chiefs more impressive in the Super Bowl?
In early iterations of the Super Bowl, rival sports would move away from the host city, reasoning that with so much focus on the big game, there would be little bandwidth left for anything else.
That’s no longer the case, especially since the NFL put together a full week of events designed to bring people into town earlier.
Instead of planning around the Super Bowl, local pro teams now lean toward the Super Bowl. At Super Bowl 46 in Indianapolis, a Pacers basketball game last week drew a wild crowd that contained a large number of football fans. Poor Kris Humphries of the New Jersey Nets, then embroiled in legal wrangles following his split from Kim Kardashian, got most of the attention from fans after being heavily mocked throughout the night.
On Tuesday of this week, one of the most significant games of the National Hockey League season took place at the Strip, where the hometown Golden Knights destroyed the Edmonton Oilers’ bid to tie the NHL’s all-time winning streak of 17.
Inevitably, there’s also a collection of weirder activities, all trying to grab a slice of the audience. In 2019, in Atlanta, an enterprising promoter named TJ McAloon brought No Ring Bar Wrestling to the doorstep of the Super Bowl, leasing a facility and setting up his patented show, which as the name suggests, involves wrestlers that don’t do their thing. in a ring, but among the crowd in a regular bar.
Who has the most to lose in Super Bowl LVIII?
This week’s equivalent might be UFC president Dana White’s new Slap. The event features competitors hitting each other hard until one can no longer go on. It’s not for the faint of heart, but this is Vegas, and there’s a market for everything here.
“No wonder there’s so much going on,” Arum said. “Everybody knows about the Super Bowl, the best of the best, the biggest thing in professional team sports. It’s like a festival, and if you can get your product close to that audience, it can be powerful.”
Outside Mandalay Bay, a group of 49ers fans who had just attended the weigh-ins for Lopez-Ortiz were walking by to pick up their LIV Golf tickets, excited that the price of admission was a mere fraction of what they had paid for Super Bowl seats. Sunday.
With the sun coming up and the Chiefs-49ers clash just days away, Vegas is kicking into high gear and sports are very much a part of it.
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX AND subscribe to the daily newsletter.
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