Photo Credit: PBR

Attendance at PBR World Finals at T-Mobile Arena Down 4 Percent from Last Year

By ALAN SNEL

 

They come to Las Vegas with their beast vs. cowboy, toughest sport on dirt theme, and the PBR World Finals event from Nov. 1-5 held its own attendance-wise given the mass shooting tragedy on the Strip that took 58 lives and injured more than 500 only a month earlier.

 

In 2016, the first year that the Professional Bull Riders World Finals were staged at T-Mobile Arena after years at Thomas & Mack Center, attendance was 71,149.

 

This year, the five-year event drew 68,375 — down four percent over last year. The daily breakdowns were:

Wednesday, 12,680

Thursday, 12,273

Friday, 12,902

Saturday, 14,913

Sunday, 14,330.

 

“The sport had been on pace for a record-setting year at T-Mobile Arena.  There was a sharp decline in ticket sales after the tragic incident on the strip, but a strong walk-up during the event helped offset that,” PBR spokesman Andrew Giangola told LVSportsBiz.com this week.

 

The PBR World Finals featured a unique new business partner. The U.S. Border Patrol used the bull riding finals as a recruiting tool.

 

A half-dozen of Border Patrol’s top officials and agents toured bull housing at South Point, while stock contractors Matt Scharping, Tiffany Davis and Kenny McElroy, along with  PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert, took the Border Patrol officials on the tour.

 

In terms of new business, PBR hosted several prospects, from endemic western lifestyle brands to energy companies.

 

“We had very productive conversations with aftermarket companies looking to connect with some of the most avid fans in sports,” Giangola said.

 

Giangola cited an ESPN sports poll that said PBR has 82.5 million fans.

 

“We hope to have news in the future about some of these companies getting involved with America’s original extreme sport, which continues to enter the mainstream and grow,” Giangola said.

 

The PBR World Finals has an impressive stable of partner companies: Ford, Las Vegas, Stanley, Monster, MGM, Wrangler, Ariat, Yeti, Jack Daniels, Lucas Oil, Cooper Tire, Lincoln Electric and B&W Hitches, Giangola said.

 

The PBR was formed when bull riders broke away from the traditional rodeo format 25 years ago. WME/IMG, a powerhouse sports and entertainment company, bought PBR in 2015.

 

Contact LVSportsBiz founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com

 

Alan Snel

Alan Snel brings decades of sports-business reporting experience to LVSportsBiz.com.

Snel covered the business side of sports for the South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Tribune and Las Vegas Review-Journal. As a city hall beat reporter, Snel also covered stadium deals in Denver and Seattle.

In 2000, Snel launched a sport-business website for FoxSports.com called FoxSportsBiz.com.

After reporting sports-business for the RJ, Snel wrote hard-hitting stories on the Raiders stadium for the Desert Companion magazine in Las Vegas and The Nevada Independent.

Snel is also one of the top bicycle advocates in the country.

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