Las Vegas Sands signaled its seriousness about the Japanese market this week by holding large-scale, star-studded events in Tokyo and Osaka on Wednesday and Thursday.
Led by executives such as LVS President and COO Robert G. Goldstein and Marina Bay Sands President and CEO George Tanasijevich, as well as global celebrities David Beckham and Joe Walsh, the message was hammered home to the Japanese audience that an LVS-run IR would be accompanied by top-level international talent in a variety of fields that would enrich the nation’s entertainment options.
In the Tokyo press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the most striking moment came when Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, ostensibly going off-script, made a heartfelt appeal for modern music facilities: “The traditional venues in Japan that we always played are no longer what we need to give a good performance. There is really no place… The logistics to make a good performance in Japan are just too much. It’s too hard.”
After the Tokyo press conference, Asia Gaming Brief held an exclusive interview with Tanasijevich and Timothy J. Leiweke, CEO of the Oak View Group.
Tanasijevich emphasized that there were still many unknowns about the IR opportunities that would eventually become available in Japan, and that his learning process was underway. While he did not directly answer the question of whether LVS was now setting up a strong Japan-based team, he implied that the company was waiting until the trajectory of the national legislation became clearer.
Leiweke underlined the points made by Walsh in the press conference—that Japan was lacking in proper facilities, not only for music events, but also for sports exchanges like that with the NBA. “I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Japan, because, as I said, there are comparables, but this one sounds like it will be the one that everyone else compares themselves to.”
Extended excerpts of AGB’s interview with Tanasijevich and Leiweke can be viewed here.