by Danelle Dodds, Exhibit City News
There is a renaissance approaching on the desert horizon. Standing quietly in the dark dunes, you can almost hear its low rumble. A glorious revivification is blowing across the sands of Las Vegas, and it is about to recharge an already electric city.
In July 2024, a brand-new conference will make its debut. The first of its kind, SEI-Con is a convention that will harness the industry power that bubbles at the intersection of sports, entertainment, and innovation. Its arrival will change the way we look at the business of sports in the future.
The convention is a partnership between three powerhouses. UNLV Sports Innovation and Syracuse University’s David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics are banding together, collaborating with Circle, the Las Vegas-based guest experience agency and conference co-founder. This brainchild and passion project between them will help solidify Las Vegas as a global sports destination in multiple verticals.
The show is estimated to draw approximately 5,000 attendees and 250 companies. Those attending the show can expect a heavy mix of business, education, and experience. Over three days, thought leaders, educators, technology partners, agencies, and brands will unite under one roof to represent all sports entertainment and innovation sectors.
Despite being a year away, the speaker docket is already bulging with more than 60 orators. Attendees can also expect familiar trappings, including keynote addresses, exhibits, seminars, and labs. With the involvement of UNLV and Syracuse, there is an expectation for a heavy influence on education, including curriculum-based programs that will allow student credit. And the nightly celebrations are anticipated to be worthy of an entertainment-focused conference, especially one in the City of Entertainment.
Sin City Sports
Even before the launch of SEI, Las Vegas had been rapidly ascending to become the world’s sports capital. Never has a city experienced such a significant surge in saturation within the sports community in such a short time. The city has exploded as an athletic supernova in less than a decade.
Ultimate Fighting Championship was the first to bet on Las Vegas. They brought their world-class mixed martial arts company to the city and opened the UFC Performance Institute in early 2017. By October of that same year, the Golden Knights would play the city’s first hometown NHL game in the 17,000+ seat T-Mobile Arena. Some would argue that this was the spark that ushered in the sporting revolution. The National Basketball Association brought the Las Vegas Aces to town the following year. And the infamous Raiders relocated in 2020.
The belief in the city as a sports dynamo paid off. The Aces would go on to bring the WNBA championship title home in 2022, and the Golden Knights iced out the competition to win the 2023 Stanley Cup. With F1 slated for November of this year, the Super Bowl in 2024, Major League Baseball’s proposed move, and the rapidly expanding world of eSports, the future of Las Vegas as an international sporting destination seems all but assured. SEI-Con is poised to be the first conference to lasso that force and take it one step further.
Fun Economy Means Big Business
Considering the estimated $2 trillion impact sports are projected to contribute to the world’s economy, a convention like SEI-Con is timely.
“There has been momentum building in the area of professional sports throughout Southern Nevada in recent years, and the economic growth that comes along with it is undeniable,” said UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield.
What makes the economic impact even more thrilling is how exceptionally and creatively it is delivered. “There is an entertainment and innovation component wrapped into everything here,” explains Shawn Garrity, Circle CEO. “E-commerce, sports science, the digitization of sports, augmented virtual reality, hospitality, education, and professional perspectives. These things are changing how fans see sports in the future.”
“SEI-Con truly represents the ‘fun economy,’” adds Jay Vickers, UNLV Sports Innovation COO, “There is one place in the world that capitalizes on every sector – sports, tourism, entertainment – and that is Las Vegas.” As one of the original conceivers of the conference, Vickers sees a bright future for the show and the city. “The city of Las Vegas can plant a flag. We will revolutionize how people will view an event.”
SEI-Con arrives July 16 – 18, 2024, at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. For more information on the conference, visit the website.