Judging from social media, it would be difficult to determine whether or not the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix was a success. Certainly going by Max Verstappen’s early comments, it seemed to have been a damp squib. But, MGM Resorts’ Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Halkyard has given an early indication that the event was anything but flat.
Halkyard, speaking at a Bank of America conference, revealed that the race “met every one of our expectations” in terms of making the event a successful one. Despite having incredibly high expectations, he revealed that the weekend was the highest-grossing weekend from hotel revenue in company history.
He said: “When you think about other events that have happened in Las Vegas over the years, and in the scale of our company, that’s quite something to have a record weekend on what was otherwise the slowest weekend of the year. It met our expectations in terms of casino volume, food and beverage and, most importantly, the guests and our employees, I think, had a very good experience during the long weekend.”
The arrival of the F1 is part of a wider plan for Las Vegas to become a sporting hub on the east coast of the US. The high-profile arrivals of the Raiders and Golden Knights in the city as well as the proposals for the Oakland A’s to move stadium on the site on the Tropicana.
This proliferation, Halkyard insisted, will only serve to benefit MGM even more, and the company remains ready to capitalize on this.
“Our company is uniquely situated to capitalize on this new interest. The only other thing I’d point out is that ours is a different market when it comes to these events.
“As an example, when the Raiders play at home, so eight or nine home games per year, you’ll see 50% or more of the fans will be from the visiting team making not only the game but the entire weekend, part of their experience. These events for us turn what our CEO is calling turning a three-hour game into a three-day weekend.”
Halkyard was also asked about BetMGM’s progress, to which he referred to the operators’ investor day on Monday.
But he was also asked to react to ESPN BET’s launch which took place last month. Asked if the PENN sportsbook poses a threat to BetMGM, Halkyard stated it was “too early to tell”.
“The market is shaken out pretty much the way we expected it to,” he explained, “which was that you’re going to have two, three, maybe four big players making up 90% of the market, and then you’d have a smaller group making up the tail of that distribution.
“I think it’s too early to tell with Penn and ESPN BET if they’re going to change that dynamic at all, but BetMGM has roughly 17% market share nationally across online sports betting and gaming. We’re definitely in that top two or three, depending upon the state and the product.”