Las Vegas Chosen as One of Four Cities for 2016 Presidential Debates

September 29, 2015

With Las Vegas being chosen as one of four cities to host a presidential debate during the 2016 election season, any question on whether it’s a city where serious business gets done should be off the table, according to Chris Meyer, vice president of Global Business Sales at the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.

“It takes away all possible argument of shows coming to Vegas,” Meyer said, an issue the city has grappled with, particularly in the government sector.

He added, “We’ll have both presidential candidates here and leadership from both of the parties.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates chose Las Vegas to host the Oct. 19 debate, just weeks away from Election Day, at the Thomas & Mack Center on the University of Nevada Las Vegas Campus.

“It’s the most widely watched (in the series) of debates,” Meyer said. In fact, he added, it’s seen worldwide, with people tuning in to see who might be the next president of the United States.

Along with the 800 delegates in the room, there will also be a massive press contingent covering the debate.

In 2012 in Denver, there were 3,500 media, but Meyer said this debate likely will attract more since there is not an incumbent running.

“We are excited that Las Vegas has been chosen to host a presidential debate and we look forward to showcasing our destination,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the LVCVA.

He added, “Las Vegas is the No. 1 convention city in North America for 21 consecutive years because we know how to get business done, and we are confident that our experience and commitment to customer service will make this event a great success.”

The LVCVA partnered with UNLV to host a debate and the city was  chosen from 16 sites that were under consideration.

Las Vegas previously has hosted primary debates, presidential speeches, and been long considered for political conventions by both parties.

As an early caucus state, Nevada has played a key role in the election process already this year, and hosting a presidential debate will continue to increase the global visibility of both Las Vegas and the state.

Meyer said the investment was significant, $4 million, to being the debate to town, but the estimated economic impact just from the event is $6 million, “So, we’re already up,” he added.

The debate also can generate at least $50 million in publicity for UNLV and Las Vegas, according to data from 2012 presidential debate sites.        

“We’re going to make sure to evangelize this, so it helps the industry in general,” Meyer said. “Las Vegas is a serious place to do business.”

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