Las Vegas Sands Sponsors Massive Japan Summer Sonic Music Festival 20th Anniversary This Weekend

Posted on: August 17, 2019, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: August 16, 2019, 08:53h.

Las Vegas Sands may be trying to get brand recognition for its upcoming casino bid with its sponsorship of this weekend’s Summer Sonic in Japan — one of the largest annual music festivals in the world.

Summer Sonic concert Las Vegas Sands
Guests at this year’s Summer Sonic festival in Osaka, Japan, will see branding from sponsor Las Vegas Sands. (Image: Summer Sonic)

The 2019 Summer Sonic marks the festival’s 20th anniversary. This year’s event kicked off yesterday and runs through Sunday, and features such global headliners as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, The 1975, and Las Vegas natives The Chainsmokers.

Summer Sonic is actually two events in one, as the cities of Osaka and Chiba simultaneously welcome tens of thousands of fans, and more than 100 music acts each. Sands is sponsoring the Osaka stages, a city where the casino operator hopes to win licensure to bid an integrated resort (IR).

Music is one of the representative entertainments offered by Sands’ integrated resorts,” Sands Managing Director of Global Development George Tanasijevich said. “We are planning to use music and entertainment during events in Osaka to appeal to both tourists and local residents, so Summer Sonic is an ideal festival.”

Japan is finalizing the licensing process for its three forthcoming multibillion-dollar IR properties.

Turf War

Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts are the odds-on favorites for two of Japan’s three IR licenses. But both are focused on Osaka.

“We’ve made a decision to focus all of our energy on Osaka,” MGM CEO Jim Murren said in March. “We believe Osaka is going to be the first integrated resort location. The government is very excited about it.”

MGM has launched an “Osaka First” policy, a mission of promoting the city and highlighting the advantages working with MGM would bring the region and prefecture. Murren says the goal is to have the integrated casino resort open in time for the city’s hosting of the 2025 World Expo.

MGM has let its presence be known in Osaka and throughout Japan. The casino operator sponsored the 2019 MLB Opening Series at the Tokyo Dome in March, and brought the Blue Man Group – which has a residency show at MGM’s Luxor in Las Vegas – to Osaka for the city’s annual summer festival last month.

With Sands becoming more public regarding its wishes to also invest in Osaka, Murren went on the offensive this summer. Murren said following Sands President Robert Goldstein’s statement that the company is fully committed to Osaka, “I did see that Rob made that news. I’m going to welcome him to Osaka. He was not loyal to that city up until that point, so good to have him here.”

Decision Time

Japan’s federal government has barred prefectures and cities from formally entertaining proposals from casino operators until it unveils its procedural guidelines for the resorts. But once it does, local governments interested in bidding for one of the three properties will enter into pacts with gaming consortiums.

You have to win twice,” Murren said of being first chosen by the prefecture, and then approved by the federal government.

Osaka will likely receive several bids. Mayor Ichiro Matsui said the city’s early request-for-concept period generated seven concepts. He didn’t identify the interested parties.