Patrick Johnson/The Republican / AP
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 | 12:33 p.m.
The grand opening of MGM Springfield — a $960 million casino and entertainment complex — is now just a month away, and the gambling giant Monday rolled out a glitzy, multimedia advertising campaign targeting six major markets, including Hartford.
MGM's "This is a First" campaign pushes what the casino company says is a first of its kind entertainment destination for the region. The theme also is a nod to firsts associated with the city such as the manufacture of the Indian Motorcycle, MGM says.
The other markets targeted in the campaign are Springfield, Boston, Albany, Providence and Worcester, all within a 100-150 mile radius of the casino.
MGM declined to say how much it is spending on the advertising campaign, which will include television, print, digital, outdoor billboards and social media.
MGM Springfield will go head-to-head with Connecticut's two casinos, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, as well as gambling venues in Rhode Island and upstate New York. A joint venture between Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, a satellite casino in East Windsor, intended to keep gambling business in Connecticut, remains stalled, amid delays in obtaining federal approvals.
MGM Springfield now has 1,390 employees on the property, and it has made job offers to about 3,000, some of who are now in the process of training and licensing. Job offers may be made to as many as 250 more applicants, a spokesman said Monday.
MGM Resorts International, the developer of the Springfield casino, has been pushing the opening the venue -- set for Aug. 24 -- for more than a year in advertising campaigns. Recently, the tagline has been "We're ready to roar," a play off MGM's signature mascot Leo the Lion.
A television spot in the campaign launched Monday features bellhops, chefs, entertainers, gamblers and others crossing over Springfield's historic Memorial Bridge into the city in an advertisement MGM describes as "whimsical." The ad ends with a lion-- presumably Leo -- making the journey across the bridge.
A voice proclaims: "The best of Las Vegas is coming to the heart of New England. This is a first."
"With this campaign, we are marking the grand arrival of an unparalleled experience from dining and entertainment to nightlife and gaming," said Michael Mathis, president of MGM Springfield. "Each component is meant to capture the energy of the resort and showcase the 'wow' moments guests will encounter throughout the destination."
Unlike its other casinos, MGM Springfield combines new construction with historic buildings in a downtown area that resulted in a complex of nearly 2 million square feet. The complex includes 125,000 square feet of gaming space, a 250-room boutique hotel on Main Street, shops and restaurants, a seven-screen movie theater and bowling alleys.
The design emphasizes outdoor spaces that will include a marketplace in warmer weather and an ice-skating rink in the winter.