For over 35 years, Pat Christenson has been instrumental in the development of special events in Las Vegas.
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1976 where he won an NCAA Wrestling title. He began his career in venue management in 1980 as event coordinator for the UNLV Athletic Department. In 1983, he was promoted to assistant director of the newly built 18,500-seat Thomas & Mack Center.
At the same time, UNLV took over management of the 30,000-seat Las Vegas Silver Bowl. Christenson was charged with developing programming to fill the venues and developing an operation for both venues.
From 1983 - 1992, the Thomas & Mack Center and the Las Vegas Silver Bowl were arguably the two most successful collegiate venues in the country. Christenson booked every event that toured the country, averaging 175 events per year in both venues.
In 1995, while managing both venues, Christenson developed the UNLV Sports Marketing Department. This department brought together all aspects of both venue and athletic inventory under one roof, including season and scholarships sales, promotions, sponsorship and merchandising.
In 2001, Christenson accepted a position as president of Las Vegas Events. In this capacity, he is responsible for securing “Signature Events” and then ensuring their growth and success. During his tenure, Las Vegas Events has increased the number of events it has supported from 21 in 2001 to an average of 41 over the past five years. Most notably, the list includes the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, four conference basketball tournaments, Electric Daisy Carnival, Rock in Rio, Life Is Beautiful, USA Sevens, NBA Summer League and USBC. The non-gaming economic impact of these events has increased from $108.9 million in 2001 to an average of more than $467.6 million over the last five years.
As both the director of the Thomas & Mack Center and president of Las Vegas Events, Christenson has played a prominent role in the growth of the National Finals Rodeo since it first arrived in 1985. To date, the Wrangler NFR has sold out 290 consecutive performances.
“With the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as a model, Las Vegas Events is constantly challenged to secure and ensure the success of the best events in the world.”