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Downtown Las Vegas won’t be left out of Super Bowl party

Will we see NFL highlights and SuperBowl LVIII logo flashing across the Fremont Street Experience’s Viva Vision canopy for the Las Vegas Super Bowl?

We feel it would be pretty cool. But would the league?

We have wondered how, or even if, the NFL might utilize such off-Strip locations as Arts District, Fremont East and the Fremont Street Experience for the Super Bowl LVIII party. The civic campaign was outlined at Friday’s Las Vegas Super Bowl Committee press event at Allegiant Stadium, site of the game.

Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority President Steve Hill says there will be downtown Super Bowl parties. The events will commence if the league itself doesn’t host them.

“It’s not been decided exactly what will be downtown, but if the NFL decides not to do something, then the host committee is going to do some activities downtown,” said Hill, a member of the Super Bowl Committee’s executive committee. “We’ll have events downtown, so we make sure that the entire city is included in the entire week.”

Fremont Street Experience CEO Andrew Simon confirmed Wednesday the concept of holding events downtown is moving forward. He said in text, “We are exploring numerous options at FSE and member properties.” Circa, Four Queens, Golden Nugget, the D Las Vegas, Binion’s, California, Fremont and Golden Gate are those members.

The Strip will be the star, as is customary in VegasVille. We expect Caesars Palace to be announced as the Super Bowl’s official host hotel, given Caesars Entertainment’s status as the league’s official casino sponsor.

The week’s worth of events has been previously reported, with an NFL Experience, NFL Honors show and several related events all being assembled. Neither the league nor the Super Bowl Committee have announced specific sites. But know that the Strip will not be shut down for Super Bowl parties.

“There are somewhere between 12 and 15 official events that take place the week leading up to the Super Bowl, but we won’t be closing down Las Vegas Boulevard,” Hill said. “There’ll be events all around town, some of those will be the official events that the NFL is having. Obviously, the properties themselves will be putting on all of their Super Bowl activities, so it’ll stretch through the entire resort corridor, from here through downtown.”

Our man Sam

Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee President and CEO Sam Joffray served as senior vice president of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation since January 2000, and has seen every major event in that city ever since. He’s also worked on 26 straight Super Bowls in some capacity, either in his position in New Orleans, or as a contracted official who helped set up the media center for the thousands of media members covering the game.

Joffrray has also been a key exec on the New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee for the 1997, 2002 and 2013 Super Bowls. He knows how to assemble a Super Bowl playbook.

“Right now, the No. 1 mission is to make sure the Monday morning, after the Super Bowl, the entire destination is saying, ‘How fast can we get this thing back here?’” Joffray said. “That’s hotels, residents, nonprofits, businesses, the entire Las Vegas community.”

Joffray understands this is a unique event, even in a city accustomed to hosting major events.

“I think the biggest challenge to hosting a Super Bowl for the first time in Las Vegas is the fact that we’re hosting the Super Bowl for the first time in Las Vegas,” the exec said. “We don’t have the plans to copy-and-paste from. We are creating everything from scratch.”

Joffray is confident the city will shine. He’s moved to Las Vegas to lead the effort.

“I would not have taken the job without knowing Las Vegas is first in the industry in success of hosting major events,” he said. “The Super Bowl is a beast in itself. It’s not a one-size-fits-all event. We do have to customize every event, not just for the fans, but for the sponsors and the owners. It’s a little different than a Raiders game, I’ll say that.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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