What's Happening in Las Vegas for this Year's March Madnessby Bill Fink /
It’s that time of year when 68 men’s (and women’s) college basketball teams vie for the national championship in a tournament hectic enough to earn the name of “March Madness.” Beginning March 14 for the men’s tournament, games continue at a frantic pace until the national championship game on April 3rd.
Basketball fans and gamblers will descend en masse to Las Vegas for the duration of the March tournament, transforming not only sportsbooks, but the entire Vegas strip and downtown areas into a multi-week basketball-themed party, complete with special events, enticing hotel packages, and of course wild game-watching and betting parties both in the sports books and in specially converted conference rooms and outdoor venues.
This year, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will be hosting the West Regional Sweet 16 games on March 23 and March 25. Expect to see some frantic last-minute booking requests from fans of the teams who advance to these games. Hoops fanatics may also want to come to town for the final four games of the 2nd tier NIT tournament being held at the Orleans Arena on March 28 and 30.
Hotel bookings and reservations can be tight during the prime tourney weekends of March 17-20, 23-27, and the 31st to the 3rd, but last-minute packages and deals can still be found with a little research, giving Travel Advisors the chance to provide value-add services to sports-hungry clients.
Read below for some of this year’s notable events and venues.
Madness on the Vegas Strip
Every sports book and nearly every bar, restaurant, and outdoor venue along and nearby the Vegas Strip will be hosting special events during March Madness. Book early to get a prime spot at your clients’ favorite location but don’t worry if a first choice is booked, as many, many options are available.
Caesars Palace and partner properties, including Cromwell, Harrah’s, the Flamingo (with poolside viewing), Planet Hollywood, and the Linq will be hosting expansive “Hoops on the Strip,” programs with viewing parties and packages throughout the tourney.
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas will launch its “Hoops & Hops” viewing party March 16-18 in its 40,000 square foot Belmont Ballroom lounge, with tickets including an open bar pass and nightclub entry.
The Saharah will have Hoops Madness parties at its outdoor pool and oasis, with a 240-foot video wall showing multiple games, with food and drink menus, open bar packages, and tailgate games like beer pong and corn hole.
The March Festival of Hoops will take place at The STRAT, Hotel, Casino & SkyPod March 16-18, with three large screens showing games in the STRAT theater as well as on LED video walls and TVs at PT’s Wings & Sports, adjacent to the William Hill Sports Book.
The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino a little off the strip is hosting its Hoops Central event with a theater viewing party in its massive 1,500-seat SuperBook. Viewing tickets are required, and include a drink.
The Venetian Resort Las Vegas is holding its March Mayhem viewing party at Electra Cocktail Club from March 14 to March 19, with games televised on a 40-foot, 70-million-pixel digital screen.
Madness in Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas will also be embracing all the madness of the hoops tourney, with special deals, packages and events at bars, restaurants and casinos.
For the duration of the tournament, the Fremont Street Experience covered six-block entertainment area will present the “World’s Largest Tournament Bracket.” Their 130,000-square-foot Viva Vision screen will give bracket and game updates multiple times each hour.
Circa Resort & Casino is normally a sports-crazy venue with its elaborate three-story sportsbook, so it’ll be going particularly wild during the tourney with a Mega March “Three Stories of Glory” viewing party happening all the tourney weekends, including March 15-19, 23-26 and April 1st and 3rd. Multiple levels of reserved seating and packages are available at the Circa Sportsbook. The madness will expand to the Galaxy Watch zone in Circa’s 3rd-floor conference center, with private watch zones available for booking, along with food, beverage, gambling, and all the games on big screens.
“Mania Under the Sun” at Stadium Swim at Circa will be a tournament-long pool party on three levels with games displayed on its 143-foot high-definition screen. The outdoor amphitheater features heated pools and cabanas with a variety of seating options, including poolside boxes, daybeds, VIP lounge chairs, and of course a poolside sports book.
The D Las Vegas is revisiting ts “Vegas Mania” watch parties with “March Hoops.” Their 12th-floor ballroom will host a free viewing event. Fans can partake in craps and blackjack, as well as sports betting stations, with food and beverages available. Upgrade to a private “Man Cave” with four 70-inch high-definition TVs, free high-speed Wi-Fi, live casino sports betting, and stadium-style food and beverages delivered by a private cocktail server.