SPORTS, MUSIC & MORE
By Skye Huntington
Amazing music acts; thrilling sporting events—UFC, boxing, hockey, basketball, bull riding, high-profile award shows, and special events are all on the menu for the new 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena, which opens this month on the Las Vegas Strip. The $375 million venue is located west of the Las Vegas Strip between New York-New York and Monte Carlo, and is expected to host more than 100 events annually. Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile says: “We’re going to light up Las Vegas in magenta and it will set a new standard for what entertainment means in the city that does it best.”
T-Mobile Arena will feature 50 luxury suites, (42 have already been sold), 24 private loge boxes, and two large clubs that require a $3,500 to $5,000 membership. Seating capacity varies according to the event, with boxing seating 20,000 plus, and concerts accomodating 12,000 to 19,600.
Regional chef for Levy Restaurants, Gilbert Verdugo, will be the exclusive food and beverage provider for the arena and he has come up with many exciting ideas. Of course, there will be concession stands with the usual hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos and pretzels. For a pop concert, which tends to attract young adults, Verdugo says that many of the offerings would be health-oriented, and more portables will be used because of the popularity of the food truck in that demographic. For a country concert, the specialty no doubt would be barbecue. “What’s going to be really cool about this is we’ll have the ability to smoke our own meats,” Verdugo said. “We’ll have our own signature flavor profile, our own sauces and rubs.” Another something a little special that he has in works that no other venue has is healthy Hawaiian food. “We have a poke bar that will be stocked with tuna and salmon, plus a variety of toppings, including cucumber, Asian pear, mango, papaya and sauces. You can make it sweet or spicy,” Verdugo added. Global restaurant chain, Shake Shack, and local family-run pizza joint from Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine, Pizza Forté, will also have outlets at the arena.
Tony Abou-Ganim, known for his craft cocktails as the “Modern Mixologist,” and one of the pioneers and leading bar professionals in the world, will be creating new drinks for the arena. Of course there’s beer, Rum Punch, and Scratch Margaritas, but there will also be six lounges, each with a different concept and libations menu. The Patrón Event Lounge will be exclusive to the event level, but the others are available to all customers. The Optimum Lounge focuses on whiskey, and will have a “Tony Original.” On the concourse level will be Vegas by Day, sponsored by Jack Daniel’s, and Vegas By Night, sponsored by Anheuser-Busch. Neon Alley, which Tony calls “a celebration of Las Vegas,” will have an electric pink lemonade in a magenta hue, the color of T-Mobile. Tony has also created the arena’s signature drink: the magenta “Atomic Fizz.” And at the Goose Island Bar, “ice chefs will carve ice for the drinks while you watch.”
A tree-filled park on Las Vegas Boulevard will draw visitors walking along the Strip to a large plaza in front of the T-Mobile arena. Focusing on outdoor spaces and offering an authentic oasis to sit and relax, patrons will eat and be entertained in MGM Resorts immersive park that leads to the arena.
Using more than 1,000 tons of meta-quartzite stone from a local quarry, shade sculptures are being erected, some 50 to 75 feet high, to offer coverage from the summer heat. Meta-quartzite, formed during the Jurassic Period, introduces the colors of Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire, while absorbing and dissipating heat, making it cool to the touch, which makes it an ideal stone for outdoor spaces in hot climates. The centerpiece is going to be a double 8-foot high, 100-foot long “water wall.”
Besides all the locals, some of the 42 million visitors to Vegas each year will be able to enjoy the shade and beauty beneath mature trees and discover spontaneous live entertainers, such as acoustic guitarists and street performers. At sunset the whole park will be illuminated with LED sequences, while the sounds of music will give guests an entirely new way to experience Vegas beneath the stars.
A 40-foot-tall sculpture called “Bliss Dance,” a beautiful art piece of a dancing woman, created by artist Marco Cochrane, will also be a highlight in the park. Created originally for the 2010 Burning Man event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, the artist explains: “It is a powerful statement about respect for female strength, energy and self-confidence when women are free and safe.” He hopes to inspire viewers to take an active role in ending violence to women and making room for women’s voices. Weighing more than 7,500 pounds, it will glimmer under the sun by day and be beautifully illuminated by 3,000 colored LED lights by night.
“Bliss Dance” Photo: Sonny Abesamis - Flickr.com/photos/enerva