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Final Four fan sites in Las Vegas chosen with Super Bowl lessons in mind

Lessons Las Vegas officials learned from hosting the Super Bowl will enhance how fans will enjoy Final Four Week in 2028.

Allegiant Stadium is set to host the NCAA Men’s Final Four, which includes two semifinal games on April 1, 2028, and the championship game April 3, 2028.

February’s Super Bowl 58 was also held at Allegiant Stadium, with the Super Bowl Fan Experience held across Interstate 15 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Despite the convenience of having the game’s venue and the fan fest within walking distance, having the two major fan events tied to the big game created traffic snarls around the south Strip.

To avoid a repeat of that experience during Final Four, officials are planning to move the fan fest to the Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall, according to Lisa Motley, vice president of sports and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

“We’ve identified that the west hall makes the most sense,” Motley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal Thursday following a NAIOP Southern Nevada Commercial Real Estate Development Association event. “It frees up the congestion around the Mandalay Bay and Allegiant Stadium and makes it truly city wide. With the Boring Co.’s Vegas Loop, it makes it very easy for fans to get around the destination. So that’s the plan, to space things out a little bit.”

Aside from the fan experience and games themselves, Final Four weekend also features music fests held throughout the weekend. This year’s Final Four was held in the Phoenix area, with 10 musical acts performing at various events including Zedd, the Jonas Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Leon Bridges and the Black Keys.

The LVCVA pitched to the NCAA hosting the music fest in 2028 at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center when the Final Four is in Las Vegas in just under four years.

“UNLV is a great partner, they are the host institution for Final Four, and we really want to make them and the students feel part of it,” Motley said. “We offered up the music festival at the Thomas & Mack. It would be an indoor-outdoor concept. We’ve got the infrastructure inside, the facilities, the concessionaires which makes it very easy. If there are rain problems, we can just go inside.”

Additional events are also being planned to take place at the Fremont Street Experience downtown, which is miles north of the Strip, Motley said.

Despite moving the fan fest location to clear up traffic congestion, having the ability to host an array of events within a few miles is a plus for Las Vegas, compared with the Phoenix area where this year’s Final Four and Super Bowl 57 was held in 2023. There events were staged in downtown Phoenix, Glendale where State Farm Stadium is located and in Scottsdale.

“You go to a game, like the Super Bowl and your team lost and now you have to get back on a bus and go back for an hour and that kind of compacts the emotions,” Motley said of the Phoenix area, after attending this year’s Final Four and the 2023 Super Bowl in Arizona. “Instead of spending time in a bus for an hour, you can be on a casino floor or in a restaurant, enjoying everything Vegas has to offer.”

Here in Vegas, everybody wins. Getting out of the stadium for Super Bowl was easy and everybody had a great time. The compactness of Las Vegas is a huge selling point.

Getting around the city during major events is key, highlighted by the planned site move for the fan experience. But come 2028, the LVCVA expects the Vegas Loop to be operating up-and-down the Strip, at Allegiant Stadium and the Thomas & Mack. The underground, point-to-point system, operated with Tesla model vehicles could be a game-changer for major event transportation.

“That is the thought,” Motley said of having the Vegas Loop operating around the resort corridor. “Hopefully before then.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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