A new report out of FOX 5 Vegas highlights the unique position that Las Vegas and its nightclubs represent in the future of live entertainment and tourism around the globe. Of course, it is true that any nightclub anywhere must adapt and restrategize to weather a post-COVID-19 world, but Vegas’s status as an international hub of tourism and nightlife affords it a more unique position.
One of the biggest hurdles to clubs reopening are reduced capacity orders, which will actually hurt more than they help. Bringing staff, bartenders, stage hands, lighting, video, etc., back to work a club that is only at 25-50% capacity would not only not be profitable, but would put the clubs even deeper into the red. With rent and utilities still due, this presents a massive hurdle for opening.
“A landowner will not take 25 percent of rent. Utility companies will not take 25 percent of the cost to operate. A venue that sells just alcohol cannot generate revenue. If they sell food, they can have some revenue,” said JC Diaz, president of the American Nightlife Association and vice president of the International Nightlife Association.
One solution could come in the form of what kind of events these clubs throw in the meantime, mainly corporate events for large businesses that still have the budget to arrange them.
“They have the footprints to rearrange their rooms. We could control the rules, before they open up. We could communicate what we are wearing–masks or no masks,” said Ryan Dahlstrom of the Nightclub Hall of Fame
“A lot of countries are looking at [Vegas] to take the lead– what the quality and standards should be,” Diaz said.
In another report, “Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said in an earnings call Wednesday reopening in May could be a possibility as Nevada rolls out its phased reopening.” Many casinos are looking to reopening this month, with many offering free parking as a small consolation for coming back to their establishments. It’s unclear if the clubs therein, like OMNIA at Caesar’s or Hakkasan at MGM, will open with them. Intrigue at Wynn closed last year before the pandemic.
Arkansas hosted the first socially-distanced concert last night with country singer Travis McCready, though it hasn’t been reported if the event was profitable or not. As individual states begin to open up and ease restrictions, little by little, we will begin to see what path forward there is for live entertainment. Until then, others are still prioritizing live streams or innovating with drive-in raves and concerts.