The Vegas Golden Knights aren’t just golden for MGM Resorts International, one of the landlords of T-Mobile Arena where the surprising National Hockey League team plays.
As more and more fans catch Knights fever during the team’s remarkable Stanley Cup playoff run, other casino companies are capitalizing on the hottest ticket in town.
It’s likely no off-Strip companies have benefited more during the golden run than Station Casinos and downtown’s D Las Vegas, because they are among the companies that have scheduled regular viewer watch parties since the playoffs began.
“I kind of knew watch parties would explode in Vegas,” said Derek Stevens, co-owner and CEO of D Las Vegas.
And the D isn’t the only property to capitalize on the watch parties Stevens hosts.
“I was talking to guys at Fremont East, a bunch of bar and restaurant owners, some of the guys at the Golden Nugget and Four Queens,” Stevens said. “When we get 5,000 people letting out at the event center, they don’t all fall into the D. They fall onto Fremont Street and Fremont East. So it’s a great thing for everybody.”
For Station, which has hosted viewer parties at seven properties scattered across the valley, both casino guests and employees embraced the team.
“With us being in the business of catering to the locals, we probably embrace the spirit and enthusiasm in a larger way than others may have,” said Lori Nelson, a Station spokeswoman.“It was hard not to catch that same fever.”
Like the D, Station doesn’t have any hard attendance numbers, but anecdotally, Nelson said the crowds have been growing since the first watch parties were staged, mostly at property performance venues and poolside at Red Rock Resort.
A bump on the Strip
On the Strip, MGM is the natural beneficiary of the Golden Knights wave. That was evident in the nationally broadcast NBC coverage of Monday’s game at T-Mobile Arena. Cameras captured images of the crowd of more than 18,000 inside the arena and the thousands gathered outside at Toshiba Plaza, watching the big screen embedded in the exterior arena wall.
The company noted in its earnings call in April that executives expected increased revenue as a result of the Knights’ extended playoff run, but that it wouldn’t offset the loss of the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez boxing rematch that was canceled after Alvarez tested positive to a banned substance.
Other Strip properties have seen increased traffic they attribute to the Knights.
“We have seen a nice bump in our William Hill Sportsbook and Unami Burger for games,” said Christopher Abraham, a spokesman for the SLS on the far north end of the Strip.
“It’s pretty clear that the Golden Knights playoff run has created more foot traffic on the Strip, but we’re not able to isolate a ‘Knights effect’ in our business results,” said Caesars Entertainment Corp. spokesman Rich Broome.
Station has created goodwill with its customers, offering several giveaways tied in to the Knights.
Over four weeks in April, the company gave away bottles of four different kinds of wine from the Foley Food &Wine Society with Golden Knights labels to holders of Station’s Boarding Pass loyalty cards. Nelson said the casino viewing parties feature drink specials for attending fans.
Nelson said another giveaway is planned for Boarding Pass holders on Tuesday when members will receive commemorative T-shirts.
Todd Prince contributed to this report.
Where to attend free watch parties
At Station Casinos:
— Palace Station: Hotel pool area
— Red Rock Resort: Rocks Lounge
— Santa Fe Station: 4949 Lounge
— Texas Station: South Padre
— Boulder Station: KIXX Lounge
— Sunset Station: Club Madrid
— Downtown Events Center (first come, first served)
— At Grandview Lounge
— Henderson Pavilion