Sports betting app BetMGM is entering the concert arena by selling tickets to its inaugural Super Bowl weekend West Fest at the Phoenix area’s Westgate Entertainment District on Feb. 11. Located across the street from State Farm Stadium, the outdoor concert will feature Tim McGraw and Bailey Zimmerman, the night before the big game goes down within walking distance. A $57 pre-sale for these West Fest tickets is only available from Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 8 a.m. MT to Thursday, Jan. 12 at 8 a.m. in the BetMGM app. After that, tickets go on sale to the public at $99.

“This is the first time this has ever been done — and the thought process behind it is how we can offer our customers unique experiences,” says BetMGM spokesperson Elisa Richardson. “We are exclusively allowing a 24-hour presale and it can only be accessed within the app in Arizona.”

Musical attractions like West Fest, companion concerts alongside major sporting events, have risen in popularity over the last decade as savvy marketers look to amplify their brands. The thinking for BetMGM: There are only so many tickets to the Super Bowl to go around, but why leave out those who might want to revel in the energy of the sporting event — or bask in the excitement of the game by betting on it? Creating “musical and entertainment attractions” around sporting-event weekends bolsters profits and casts a wider net on an audience that is no longer made up of only team enthusiasts. It’s not enough to see your favorite rivalry unfold on the field, you also want to see your favorite band the night before or discover a new restaurant for brunch on game day — and why not book a hotel and make it a staycation?

“Whether they have a ticket or not to [the Super Bowl], people want to be a part of the entertainment,” says Jessica Kubicki, director of marketing for YAM Properties, the owners of Westgate Entertainment. “With the sheer amount of people in the area, business is set to double if not triple that of a typical weekend for Westgate tenants.”

With sports betting now considered its own form of entertainment, BetMGM will make history at State Farm Stadium with the first retail sportsbook on the Super Bowl home stadium campus. Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. and Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, OH also have BetMGM inside their sports arenas. 

Richardson says the growth of mobile sports betting has been explosive, representing massive tax revenue benefits. “Rarely do you have an industry that’s being legislated individually by states,” she says. “We just launched in Ohio on New Year’s Eve, and we saw a record amount of signups — almost 800,000 pre-registered across all the different operators. We view sports betting as entertainment; it’s an extension of you enjoying the game. We also look to partner with different teams and leagues. Those partnerships allow customers access to VIP opportunities, like meet and greets. It’s a whole package of entertainment and fun.”

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And the trend isn’t just around Super Bowl-sized events. At Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena and Dolby Live at Park MGM, on any given pair of nights you can see the city’s NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights, play at the former and next watch Bruno Mars take the stage at the latter. MGM Music Hall at Fenway offers the same “musical attraction” experience, alongside sporting events at the legendary Fenway Park.

Currently, BetMGM has a presence in 25 markets, some with retail betting windows only, some with mobile capabilities only — and others with both. Since its launch in 2019, the enterprise has inked major celebrity and athlete endorsement deals with the likes of Jamie Foxx, Vanessa Hudgens, Jalen Rose, Marshawn Lynch, Jerry Ferrara, softball legend AJ Andrews and Wayne Gretzky, among others. The stakes are high on these deals with celebrity names adding an additional $250 million spend on top of the BetMGM $200 million startup funds. 

But those big music names are proven entities on their own. Says Kubicki: “When Garth Brooks was in town he played at State Farm Stadium, and we were able to create a pre-concert atmosphere. After the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve, we hosted a ticketed concert with emerging country artists and a DJ. … The goal is to maximize the customer experience while they’re here so if they’re coming to a sporting event or they’re coming to a concert, how can we make this a one-stop shop to have fun before and after? We’re not just a retail space, we’re an experience space.”

And if you never thought you would see McGraw performing next to your neighborhood Buffalo Wild Wings, Dutch Bros Coffee or Wetzel’s Pretzels, it’s all-bets-on when the Super Bowl is in town. “Musical attractions” are popping up throughout the Phoenix area, produced by a new crop of companies who specialize in the intersection of sports and live entertainment.

The fourth annual Bud Light Super Bowl LVII Music Fest takes over the Footprint Arena Feb. 9-11 with Paramore, the Dave Matthews Band, DJ Pee Wee, Imagine Dragons and Kane Brown. Produced by On Location, a company specializing in creating musical and entertainment attractions around major sporting events, the Bud Light Music Fest aims to give fans an extended halftime show.

Much like On Location, Medium Rare creates and produces entertainment around sporting events and personalities, who are more than happy to cash in on leveraging their intellectual property to culturally relevant experiences. 

Gronk Beach, a day party at Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort hosted by four-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski, promises a curated music festival with such acts as Diplo, 21 Savage and Lil Jon. This is the third iteration of the “musical attraction” which took place in 2020 during Super Bowl weekend in Miami — with 3,000 tickets sold in 10 minutes — and in Vegas during the 2022 NFL Draft. Wynn Nightlife geographically steps off the Strip to host the events’ VIP tables, which range in price from $5,000 to $50,000. According to data from Medium Rare, the Gronk Beach event in Las Vegas with the Chainsmokers at Encore Beach Club sold out 5,000 tickets and 150 VIP tables and was the most popular Friday event ever at the resort. Attended by Travis Kelce, Russell Westbrook, Julian Edelman, Debo Samuel, Martin Garrix and more, the event received billions of impressions.

Also from Medium Rare, on Feb. 11, Shaq’s Fun House — presented during the 2022 Super Bowl in Los Angeles by now-defunct crypto exchange FTX — will set up its carnival-style party at the Talking Stick Resort with performances by Snoop Dogg, Diplo and DJ Diesel. 

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