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December 15, 2017

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Debate gave UNLV, Las Vegas $114 million in publicity, university says

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Police officers stand outside the Thomas & Mack Center ahead of the third presidential debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Final Presidential Debate at UNLV

Republican nominee Donald Trump leaves the stage at the end of the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Launch slideshow »

The presidential debate in Las Vegas generated $114 million in publicity for UNLV and the region — more than double what host agencies initially projected, the university announced today.

The debate, hosted Oct. 19 at UNLV in partnership with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, cost $7.5 million to produce. The event generated $1.4 million in gross revenue from sponsorships, exhibit booth space, and catering, officials said.

The LVCVA was authorized to spend up to $4 million on the debate, with the university covering the rest of the costs. UNLV also spent another $1 million on campus improvements such as Wi-Fi enhancements, facility maintenance and signage.

More than 71 million people watched the debate on television, with more streaming the event on their computers or phones.

LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter called access to that kind of audience “a great investment and an amazing opportunity” for Las Vegas. The debate also drew about 5,000 members of the media to Las Vegas to cover the event.

“Every Nevadan should be proud that the debate provided an opportunity to showcase the state, Las Vegas and UNLV,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement.

The university developed a number of courses focused on the debate and the 2016 election. Nearly 1,000 students volunteered to help with debate preparations, and more than 200 attended in person, UNLV officials said.

“For our students and many around the valley, the presidential debate provided an educational opportunity and propelled them and UNLV into the spotlight in unimaginable ways,” UNLV President Len Jessup said in a statement.

The host agencies also joined the Clark County School District to develop an essay contest, coordinate watch events and develop related curricula.

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