Major touring acts such as U2 and the Rolling Stones didn’t count Las Vegas as a regular stop before Richard A. Sturm, president and chief operating officer of MGM Mirage Entertainment and Sports, transformed the casino entertainment landscape by booking them at the 16,800-seat MGM Grand Garden Arena. He scored a major coup with the arena’s inaugural 1993 New Year’s Eve concert when Barbara Streisand stepped onstage after a 20-year absence. Beyond creating event-driven destination entertainment in Las Vegas on a large scale, he recognized the unique value of the eye-popping Cirque du Soleil shows, securing all five of them under the company’s umbrella. In sports, he’s overseen numerous high-profile boxing championships and sold-out battles of the wildly popular Ultimate Fighting Championship.
P.O.V.: “When you are event-driven and you want to have a reason for your customers to visit more than once a year, you have to have big acts.”