James was lucky enough to visit the 2022 NFL Draft held in Las Vegas, and what an experience it was! Take a look at James’ account below:
I arrived late on Tuesday night after a long day of travelling, and having checked into The Wynn, I had a quick drink in one of the many hotel bars and then an early night before a day of exploring the Strip.
Wednesday 27th April
The customary Day 1 early rise saw a gym session in the vast and luxurious spa area, followed by breakfast in the Terrace Bar – the perfect start to an exciting day ahead. I then strolled all the way up and down the Las Vegas Strip, which is a mesmerising experience. Although this was my second visit to Sin City, the wow factor is no less, and you cannot go far before stopping at something intriguing!
It would have been remiss of me not to take in the NFL shop, located in Caesar’s Palace. There is a shopping mall there – as grand and luxurious as you could imagine. and the shop itself is a football fan’s paradise. I purchased some gimmicky Dolphins items and dragged myself away! As this was the only down time of the trip, I took the opportunity to spend the afternoon by the pool with my favourite podcast, ready for the LVCVA Welcome reception overlooking the beautiful Wynn golf course, which at $650 a round is, at this stage, a pipe dream!
The drinks reception was a great chance to mingle with other invitees and our friends at the LVCVA. The setting was beautiful and the food divine! I met with Ben from our competitors MVP Travel, and really enjoyed his company throughout the trip.
The main event – Day 1 of the Draft!
The day started with a 09.30 pick up to experience ‘FlyOver Las Vegas’, which is a virtual journey over the entirety of Vegas, the Strip and beyond. A fun experience, but beware, not one for the faint hearted, especially if partying the previous night. We were then taken to the phenomenal Alegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders. WOW! What a stadium! I have had the privilege of visiting a fair few NFL and other stadiums, but there is an argument to say that it is up there with the best. It is opulent whilst oozing character and atmosphere all in one, a real highlight.
We then headed to the Eiffel Tower restaurant which overlooks the Fountains of Bellagio where the players were initially introduced. The view was outstanding, and again so was the food.
At around 3.pm we started the walk to the Draft itself, mingling with fans on the walk and taking it all in. We ended up in our hospitality area with a huge screen, and the drinks started to flow! We headed out to the masses with a view of the stage and over 100.000 spectators, as Travon Walker’s name was finally read out, followed by Aidan Hutchinson, and so on. I would describe those moments as surreal, as the true magnitude of the event really hit home and I was struck by the pure privilege of being present.
After the 32 picks, Weezer entertained the crowd, and a good old sing song was enjoyed. Whilst being very British, I felt extremely American at that exact point in time!
This involved a lunch meeting with the Las Vegas Golden Knights – the Ice Hockey NHL representatives of the city. We met Eric Bartucca of Group Sales and he took us around the training facility, involving 2 ice rinks, offices, an incredible club shop and array of super cars in the parking lot. Thanks to Eric for the access. We discussed our ambition to bring Brits out to experience game-day, which they boast is the best experience in the NHL. I am not sure I am willing to disagree with them! Eric and his team are one of the most flexible we work with – our game-day experience will be excellent and we have been granted special access to check out the training facilities and more.
The rest of Friday was seeing The Chainsmokers live on stage at The Wynn Encore, bizarrely accompanied by The Gronk dancing around them. All excellent fun and the perfect way to round off the few days.
Saturday was home time after a much needed nice lie-in, a final exploring of the Strip, and even a cheeky venture back to the NFL shop to buy goodies for friends and family.
Thank you Vegas.
We Will Be Back!!