Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 | 2 a.m.
As sporting events go, the Super Bowl is the biggest and is certainly worthy of its name in terms of pop cultural cachet. But in terms of driving business to Las Vegas hotels, it’s not super at all.
If statistics provided by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) on hotel-room occupancy are any indication, Super Bowl weekend is far from the busiest on the Strip. In 2016 it ranked 44 out of 53 weekends, with a 93.8 percent occupancy rate.
In 2016 almost every other holiday saw higher hotel occupancy rates than Super Bowl weekend, including Veterans Day, Father’s Day, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day and New Year’s Eve.
Even Thanksgiving beat out Super Bowl weekend last year, although there were fewer hotel guests on Mother’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Christmas.
All things are relative, and Las Vegas’ occupancy rates for Super Bowl weekend are still very respectable.
• 2016, 93.8 percent
• 2015, 85.6 percent
• 2014, 87.3 percent
And in general, according to the LVCVA, occupancy rates in Las Vegas that weekend have been traditionally higher than the rest of the country. So even if occupancy rates are lower the weekend of the big game, it doesn’t mean Strip resorts are anywhere near empty.
There’s no doubt casinos on the Strip are marketing to football fans. Almost all of the big resorts are offering parties and specials of some kind for the big game. Many people consider Super Bowl weekend a national holiday. And at least one local one hotelier said many visitors to his resort check out of their hotel rooms on Monday to make it a long weekend.
“It’s right up there with all our top weekends,” said Ryan Thompson, vice president of hospitality marketing for Caesars Palace, Rio and Harrah’s. “We see a tremendous amount of traffic.”
And, in fact, special weekend events are being held at Paris, the Mirage, the Cosmopolitan, the Venetian, SLS, Treasure Island, Wynn, Cromwell, Linq, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, the Palazzo and many more casinos.
Because the game happens on one day, it’s similar to New Year’s Eve, Thompson said. And while in the past, it may have appealed more to hard-core sports fans, that’s not the case anymore.
“Maybe 10 years ago you could say that,” Thompson said. “But that’s just not the case any more. The Super Bowl has just grown into this massive event. When it comes to the March Madness event, you see groups of guys more. But during the Super Bowl, you will get couples and groups that are into it. It’s just a big mix.
“March Madness definitely skews more male. But the Super Bowl has something for everyone. Now people come just to watch the commercials,” Thompson said.