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‘Only Vegas’ ad to air during Super Bowl telecast

Updated January 30, 2020 - 6:14 am

A 30-second version of Las Vegas’ “What happens here, only happens here” television ad will air prior to Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV.

Representatives of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and its advertising consultant, R&R Partners, said Thursday the ad is expected to air sometime between 2:30 and 3 p.m., on Super Bowl Sunday during the Fox network’s pregame show.

Fox acknowledged in Business Insider that 30-second spots for the Super Bowl are costing $5.6 million during the game broadcast. The LVCVA would not confirm the ad’s cost, saying its part of the agency’s $101.5 million annual marketing and advertising budget.

It will be the first time a Las Vegas ad has appeared during a Super Bowl telecast. For years, the National Football League has banned Las Vegas from advertising because of the city’s association with gambling and the casino industry.

When the popular “What happens here, stays here” campaign debuted in 2003, the NFL refused to allow the ads to be aired, even though they contained no property or gambling imagery.

Several stars in ad

The new 30-second ad, titled “Key of Vegas,” features Las Vegas residency artists Shania Twain, Christina Aguilera and Aerosmith. It also showcases Lady Gaga’s bandleader, Brian Newman, and UFC heavyweight fighter Francis Ngannou.



A 60-second version of the ad aired during Sunday’s Grammy Awards telecast. The ad was destined to be the kickoff of the introduction of the LVCVA’s new slogan, a spinoff of the “What happens here, stays here” campaign.

But the LVCVA ordered much of the campaign surrounding the ad to be curtailed after the death of National Basketball Association great Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles Lakers star perished in a helicopter crash in suburban Los Angeles that killed him and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling enabling sports wagering nationwide and the NFL’s decision to permit the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas have been cited as the reasons for the league’s change in heart to allow Las Vegas to advertise during the Super Bowl.

The league also is staging the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas in April.

“We are excited to welcome the NFL to Las Vegas in 2020 with the Raiders inaugural season this fall and the NFL Draft coming in April,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the LVCVA.

Partnership growing

“This is a partnership that continues to grow and is another big reason the destination is a mecca for sports fans, who flock to Las Vegas every year for an experience that only happens here,” he said.

In combination with the TV spot, the destination secured a Super Bowl Sunday sponsorship on Twitter and will run a short commercial preceding highlight clips from the @NFL handle.

The LVCVA opted to resume its promotion of the new slogan late Thursday morning with Gov. Steve Sisolak presenting a proclamation for “Only Vegas Day.” Sisolak will present the proclamation from the Third Street Stage beneath the 1,500-foot Viva Vision Canopy at the Fremont Street Experience.

The LVCVA’s 2019-20 fiscal year budget included $101.5 million for marketing and advertising.

“Due to the fact that we have negotiated rates with our media partners, we are unable to share the exact cost (of the ad),” said Fletch Brunelle, the LVCVA’s vice president of marketing. “But what we can tell you is, that as part of yearly planning, we keep a flexible budget in the event of programming that is opportunistic, such as special advertising opportunities similar to this.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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