Las Vegas welcomes the very first NBA In-Season Tournament at T-Mobile Arena and Toshiba Plaza for the semifinal games and the big championship game on Saturday, Dec. 9. Joey Graziano, the head of event strategy and development for NBA, gives further insight on what the In-Season Tournament means for the future of NBA in Las Vegas and the value added for NBA fans.
Q: We are so excited to host the NBA Semifinals. Why is Las Vegas such a desirable destination for the NBA Semifinals?
A: There is nothing more exciting in professional sports than game seven: the energy, the pressure, the tension between rivals and what we have done with the tournament. We created guaranteed game seven moments, big moments, where our players are excited about this incredible competitive format; there is this extra energy in and around the court.
Our final four teams play on Dec. 7 and 9 for us to crown a brand-new champion to create a new legacy and a new tradition here [in Las Vegas] with the NBA; we are excited to be able to do that in Las Vegas.NBA star Lebron James walking the red carpet at the NBA's inaugural In-Season Tournament ahead of the western semifinals in Las Vegas, NV, on Dec. 7, 2023
To answer your question, why Vegas...We have launched the NBA Summer League for more than a decade. We have USA basketball team practices here and started their tours here. We have a WNBA champion, a world champion with [Las Vegas] Aces. We launched the NBA Con, our version of Comic-Con, right here last year.
We have an incredible fan base [and] we know that fans from around the world are excited to travel to Las Vegas. This past year, our NBA Experiences, our premium experiential tourism business connected to NBA Con and NBA Summer League [attracted] fans from over 45 states and 30 countries... to Las Vegas.
The third piece is we have incredible support here; our friends at LVCVA and our city support have been instrumental in launching net new.
Q: What are the major highlights for fans for the first NBA In Season Tournament at T-Mobile Arena, and how does this tournament impact Las Vegas locals from the NBA's point of view?
A: We have extended the arena into Toshiba Plaza...We have [several] celebrity appearances and musical performances. Our network partners have big broadcast studios with all their on-air talent in the plaza.
We have a marquee takeover of all of the assets on The Strip...We want you to know; we want the city of Las Vegas to know that the NBA is home. The expectation is to allow every fan the opportunity to engage.
We wanted to build this not only for traveling fans but also for locals. We have our two semifinal games, then our championship game on Saturday [catered to] our local fans who cannot usually see NBA games [live] during the regular season in Las Vegas, but now they do.
Q: What are the main ways NBA Experience and additional NBA offerings cater to the luxury market in Las Vegas?
A: I am just like the fans of your magazine. What I want to be able to do is have intense experiences in moments. I want to be able to do things others can't do.
There is nothing more luxurious than exclusivity...Las Vegas offers that better than anybody else. Las Vegas creates these premium experiential moments, these high-touch connections with insider access and behind-the-scenes experiences on a truly global scale. I think that draws people to the city; they have those "I was there when" moments.
Our fans crave those high-touch experiences, so we launched a business called NBA Experiences. With the combination of doing them in Las Vegas, we have seen the growth, like with Summer League and NBA Con. Now, we will see results with the NBA In-Season Tournament as well.
Photography by: courtesy of nba photos