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Las Vegas Chicken Shacks, party throwers prepare for Super Bowl

Preparing for this weekend’s big game was a two-month process for Las Vegas resident Jeff Molitz.

This will be the 23rd Super Bowl party for Molitz, Carrot Top’s personal assistant. He said he expects between 250 and 300 guests this year; Las Vegas entertainers like magician Criss Angel and comedian Louie Anderson have made appearances in the past.

Between setting up the venue, purchasing TVs and preparing the food, which includes 40 pounds of brisket and about 300 chicken wings, Molitz said the entire party costs somewhere between $3,500 and $4,000.

“That includes stuff that’s sponsored,” he said. The party has “slowly taken on a life of its own.”

Molitz’s party takes things to new heights, but he’s not the only one in Las Vegas who’s expected to spend big bucks for Super Bowl LIII. The Retail Association of Nevada expects Nevadans to spend nearly $140 million stocking up on things like food, televisions, decorations and apparel for the big sporting event.

More than 1.7 million Nevadans are expected to tune in to this year’s game, which will pit the Los Angeles Rams against the New England Patriots in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Viewers are sure to work up an appetite; the report projects that 13 million chicken wings will be purchased by Nevadans for the game.

After more than a decade in the business, Jonathan Vitt, the owner of six Chicken Shack locations around the Las Vegas area, said he’s ready for the “hectic” day.

Vitt said his employees will start their shift on Sunday at 4 a.m., four hours earlier than usual. Each of his stores will push out about 6,000 wings, six times more than on an average day, along with orders of chicken fingers, fries and more.

“It’s a ridiculous amount of orders,” he said. “If you’re not prepared by noon, you’re in trouble. The folks are coming.”

About 41 percent of total viewers plan to throw or attend a watch party. Five percent will be following the game — or its commercials — at a bar or restaurant, according to the Retail Association of Nevada.

Nevadans are projected to purchase about 119,000 televisions and 171,000 pieces of apparel for the game. Gross wagering on the game is expected to surpass $160 million in Nevada, up from about $159 million last year.

In all, the 182.5 million Americans planning to watch the Super Bowl this year are expected to spend an average of $81.30 on game-related items, a 0.2 percent increase from last year.

“It shows that people like events that let them come together and share an experience,” said Bryan Wachter, senior vice president of the retail association. “It’s giving us the first indication that we shouldn’t expect to see growth, but we’re also not seeing a decline” in consumers’ spending confidence.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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