We aren’t here to bore you with our 2012 March Madness predictions. In part, because we have never been all that great at offering up an educated forecast, but mostly because there is so much more to the infamous college basketball tournament than the Final Four. You’ll understand soon enough what we’re talking about.
It’s all about Las Vegas. That’s right. Sin City is designed for this kind of sporting event. Yes, it might have the upper-hand when planning your bachelor party, but Las Vegas epitomizes the sports arena for true fans – not just those placing a bet at the sports books. On hand at nearly every casino is a sports venue with a countless number of high-end televisions to accommodate all sorts of fans. This type of environment, like New York New York’s Sporting House, lives for a 24 hour tournament – where no less than 15 televisions are plugged in and turned to ESPN at every waking moment.
The likelihood that some eccentric sports fan is sitting tuning in to a college hoops game this March at 3am is high, particularly thanks to all star venues like Lagasse’s Stadium or ROX Vegas, venues that adjust to the sports enthusiast while still clamoring for the international guest.
Las Vegas is much more than rowdy nightclubs and streets lacquered with stripper calling cards – the city is infested with as much trash as it is culture. Dan Hipper of Vegas.com knows all too well about the diverse audience that comes to Vegas, both for bachelorette festivities and Michelin star rated cuisine. As the Vice President of Marketing for Vegas.com, Hipper is aware of the ins-and-outs of the Vegas guest who comes for a great time. “Las Vegas brings in a ton of people, whether they’re fans of a team or not. It’s the ultimate sports fan experience here,” he says.
The Las Vegas sports experience has accelerated beyond the sports books to emphasize a host of fabulous activities. As the culinary center to the world’s finest chefs, with legends like Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina and Tom Colicchio all offering masterpieces along the strip, this month everything is united; while sports and fine cuisine usually clash, in Las Vegas during March Madness, it’s much more than status quo.
Lagasse’s Stadium fuses the premier dining experience only Las Vegas can offer with the sports fan. Lagasse’s Stadium offers a menu catered to Food Network fans from celebrity favorite Emeril Lagasse, with a sporting venue introducing 80 flat screen televisions and a 10-foot by 20-foot projection screen complete with stadium seating.
Sporting House Bar & Grill (formerly ESPN Zone) still offers 130 HD television screens to accommodate fans of all 68 teams. “Everyone knows that Vegas has the sports books and is a great place to bet on the games, but one of the great things about being here at March Madness is that it’s a great environment to watch all these games at once,” Hipper says. As one of the most popular joints, the location is large enough that Blue Devils and Bulldogs might not even cross paths.
Location: New York New York
Hours: Accommodating tournament schedule
PBR Rock Bar is one of the few standalone bars on the Las Vegas Strip that garners just as much attention as the casinos. When there’s a bar named after a beloved college beer, it’s not hard to guess where the night tends to turn – but PBR Rock Bar is a haven for the college hoops crowd with more than 100 HD TVs and drink specials dedicated to anyone wearing a team jersey (shots were even devised by house mixologists centered around the March Madness tournament).
Location: 3663 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Hours: 8am to close
ROK Vegas bends the rules a little bit when it comes to Vegas sports bar venues, but that is a specialty of this naughty city, after all. The New York New York nightclub is hosting March Madness fans with more than drink specials and endless HD TVs. The VIP nightclub will switch on its famous 360 degree video screen to the college basketball tournament March 17-19, with free entry and $20 Absolut pitchers around-the-clock.
Location: New York New York