Selling Out Las Vegas’ Dignity for Sports Revenue: Opinion

Posted on: January 24, 2024, 01:03h. 

Last updated on: January 25, 2024, 12:57h.

Some of the preparations Las Vegas has undertaken for the slew of new sporting events streaming into town come at the expense of its dignity.

The “Luxorito” dips the Las Vegas advertising bar
The “Luxorito” dips the Las Vegas advertising bar too low. (Image: Twitter/@socal360)

Ads have wrapped Las Vegas casino resorts before. During most of the 11 years Donny and Marie Osmond headlined the Flamingo, their 10-foot-wide eyes gleamed from a wrap obscuring the casino resort’s entire Strip-facing side.

People have been known to mistakenly call The Mirage the “Beatles Hotel” because of the wrap advertising its Cirque du Soleil show since 2006. And a giant Penn & Teller blanketed the Rio for 15 years until its removal for building renovations last September.

The Delano is now the Pepsi Casino Resort. (Image: Twitter/@mickakers)

But one new wrap is different. It has transformed one of the four sides of MGM Resorts’ Luxor into a 350-foot Dorito. Another side of the pyramid advertises Michelob Ultra beer.

Erected before Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium — so it would feature prominently in hundreds of establishing shots panning the Las Vegas Strip —  the “Luxorito” is the first major building wrap to advertise something that wasn’t a feature of the casino resort underneath it.

This suggests a new era in which Las Vegas’ unique architecture has become available for wrapping by the highest-bidding corn chip manufacturer.

As a Vegas purist, this is just a bridge too far,” wrote David Hookstead in a column on “Who signed off on this and why? What’s the goal? The obvious answer is someone at Doritos cut MGM an absolutely massive check. But was it worth the money to become this kind of sad joke?”

Next to fall was the prime real estate atop the Delano, to a Pepsi banner.

And, while wraps are easily removed, another Las Vegas icon’s poorly timed alteration for the Super Bowl will take as many weeks to undo as it already has to construct.

The beloved, soon-to-be-demolished Mirage Volcano is undergoing a weeks-long transition into a prop advertising a streaming network during the Super Bowl. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

A Mountain of Indignity

Paramount Global has closed, drained, and partially dismantled the Mirage Volcano to build “Paramount Mountain,” a display that it says will feature “interactive fan experiences” promoting the slate of television programs offered by the company’s streaming channel.

The timing of this move couldn’t be more insensitive. One of the last of Las Vegas’ truly rare free attractions, the volcano has become a magnet for nostalgic visitors since the resort’s new owners, Hard Rock Las Vegas, announced last March their plans to demolish the hotel and replace it with a guitar-shaped hotel tower.

Coming to Las Vegas to catch the volcano show one last time? Yeah, no. It won’t be erupting again until mid-February, and then for who knows how long?

When MGM Resorts killed and removed as many as 40 trees (some of which had stood there in front of the Dunes) to build a grandstand in front of its Bellagio for F1’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix –which itself obstructed sidewalk views of the famous fountains for months — many wondered what could possibly be a harder gut punch to take for fans of leaving Las Vegas the way it is.

Unfortunately, they’re finding out.