Las Vegas Sun

May 20, 2024

Q+A Scott DeAngelo:

Allegiant executive: Putting name on Las Vegas stadium has been worthwhile investment

Allegiant's Raiders Plane Unveiled at McCarran

Steve Marcus

Allegiant Air Executive Vice president and Chief Marketing Officer Scott DeAngelo is interviewed during the unveiling of an Allegiant Air Airbus A319 passenger jet with a Raiders-themed paint job at McCarran International Airport Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.

In 2019, Allegiant Air made a reportedly $25 million-a-year naming-rights deal for the Las Vegas Raiders’ home stadium. A little more than three years into the agreement that gave us Allegiant Stadium, a top executive with the Las Vegas-based airline — which employs more than 1,500 people locally — said the carrier has received plenty of bang for its buck.

A four-year veteran of Allegiant, Scott DeAngelo is executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the airline and a member of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board of directors.

The Sun recently talked to DeAngelo about everything from the state of the airline industry to the 2024 Super Bowl, which will be played Feb. 11, 2024, at Allegiant Stadium.

It’s hard to think the stadium naming-rights deal hasn’t had a big effect on Allegiant’s marketing efforts. Has that been the case?

It has absolutely elevated brand awareness nationwide. Last season alone, we had two very highly rated Sunday Night Football games — the (Raiders’) home game against the (Los Angeles) Chargers and the game against the Kansas City Chiefs. They both finished in the top 10 for shows watched for the entire year.

It’s crazy. All in all, Allegiant Stadium generated 80 billion impressions last year with the NFL games and all the other events going on at the stadium, whether that might be a BTS concert or an Elton John concert. That would be equivalent to about $130 million in media spend.

Obviously, it has enabled us to be a more recognized brand, especially in NFL cities like Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.

It has also allowed us to break through in ways that we could have never really afforded to do with additional advertising in places like Boston, Chicago and Houston.

Then there’s, of course, our important Florida markets like Miami, Tampa and Orlando. It’s been an overwhelming success. We couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the iconic Las Vegas skyline.

Recently, Mexican regulators approved an alliance between Allegiant and Mexico-based airline Viva Aerobus to expand routes from the United States to Mexico (regulatory approval is still needed in the U.S.). Tell us about that.

We entered into this to be able to expand past what we offer for our domestic destinations. Specifically, we’re looking at Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.

This was a great opportunity for us to be able to expand what we’re good at — affordable, nonstop airfare offerings. Where Viva comes in is that they already have flights originating in the U.S. There’s an opportunity for them to be able to operate these flights, which we will sell, to expand more into the United States.

Of course, there’s a revenue share built into the agreement. It’s really a win-win. Besides the three destinations I mentioned, there’s potential for more in the future.

The past couple of years have been challenging for the airline industry. How is Allegiant Air doing now?

During the pandemic, we fared better than most other domestic carriers, largely because we’re leisure focused. For most carriers, business travel is a large portion of what they do, and that was obviously way down after the pandemic hit.

We fly a lot of people to beach destinations, especially in Florida, and most of those beaches remained opened during the pandemic, which helped us.

At our worst times, our business was down about 40% from pre-pandemic levels, which was far better than most of the industry. For most carriers, they were down as much as 80-90%. Today, from the passenger and demand side, things couldn’t be better.

Allegiant posted a net loss of about $10 million for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. Are there fears about what a potential recession could do to the industry?

As you can see in our earnings report, with the impact of (Hurricane Ian in Florida) and just other operating issues that the entire industry is going through right now, that didn’t enable us to capture as much as we’d like. I think every airline is kind of saying that right now.

We’ve laid a foundation to address those issues, but the demand to travel is certainly there, and we’re capturing as much as we can, as evidenced by our high load factors.

Because Allegiant is a low-cost airline, do lean economic times also mean there are opportunities for the company to capitalize on more of a customer market share?

We’re already seeing some of that. During the pandemic, consumers paid down a lot of debt. As we kind of head into this recession, some of that savings is being chipped away at while some debts are being put back on credit cards.

We think any recession will be much shorter than, say, the Great Recession, but it will force people to be more deliberate about their discretionary spend.

Last month, we surveyed customers who have flown with us this year. We asked them which airline they usually fly and, for those who said they usually fly an airline other than Allegiant, more than 40% said they were more likely to fly Allegiant in the next 12 months based on concerns about the economy, namely inflation and impending recession. I put it as that our addressable market is being increased. We’re well-positioned.

You’re very involved with not only the LVCVA but the efforts to put on the Super Bowl. How’s the planning going so far?

The Super Bowl Host Committee is ahead of schedule. I’m fortunate enough to serve on the marketing committee.

The host committee is being led expertly by people like Sam (Joffray) and Ken (Elder), who are pros at doing this after working multiple Super Bowls, and at the top by Maury Gallagher, who is our former CEO at Allegiant and the chair of the Super Bowl Committee.

The leadership, which also includes Raiders President Sandra Douglass Morgan, couldn’t be stronger.

That’s going to translate into a Super Bowl experience that I think will be unmatched. As for Las Vegas overall, I think we’re in the midst of a renaissance. We’ve largely gotten (hotel) occupancy back, room rates are higher than ever, gaming wins are at historic highs, revenue pull is higher than ever. … From a business point of view, this pie is growing.