That Time the Mirage Sale Rumor Was Just Plain Wrong (Yet Again)

Last year was a truly extraordinary year, and 2015 was an even more extraordinary year to be a Las Vegas blog.

We got to break and share news stories about everything Las Vegas, and the nearly 1.4 million visits to Vital Vegas are evidence that interest in Las Vegas is at an all-time high.

One of the most confounding stories of 2015 involved rumors the Mirage Las Vegas would be sold. In July 2015, feeling feisty after breaking the story of the sale of Riviera, we reported Mirage would be sold within three weeks to Starwood Capital Group and that Paragon Gaming would take over operation of the hotel’s casino. Read the wrongness.

Well, that rumor proved to be wrong 21 days later. Still, there was lots of evidence the rumor was true, despite the “flawed timeline.”

Mirage sold

Nailed it.

We weren’t the only one’s looking at the potential sale of Mirage. Reporters reported, analysts analyzed, speculators speculated and we personally got additional information from people both inside and outside MGM Resorts that supported our original story.

There were, and are, lots of indications something is happening at Mirage.

International high rollers have been diverted to other MGM Resorts casinos, and the Mirage’s international marketing department was shut down in 2015. The hotel’s Revolution Lounge closed, a sign preparations are being made to end Cirque to Soleil’s connection to the hotel, since the company’s relationship with MGM Resorts wouldn’t transfer to the new owners. Although, as it turns out, those things may mean absolutely nothing. (The Cirque thing was faulty logic, since “Mystere” stayed at Treasure Island when it changed ownership.)

While rumors of a Mirage sale were seemingly bolstered as time went by (we heard the sale was happening from multiple sources on the real estate side, the Starwood side and others inside MGM Resorts), the sale simply never happened. Hence the “confounding” part.

After buzz began to build about a sale, public denials of the rumors began. Those denials came from the very top levels of the company, including an increasingly-annoyed Chairman and CEO Jim Murren, and we started hearing directly from high-ranking officials at MGM Resorts directly, and they weren’t happy.

Over time, the official statements from MGM Resorts have been proven true, and rumors otherwise have turned out to be untrue.

Even those of us distrustful of official statements and news releases had to admit defeat when rumors were once and for all put to rest with a story about Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin, who said the rumor about Starwood was “never true.”

Mirage has been included in MGM Resort’s REIT (real estate investment trust), so the Mirage won’t be sold anytime soon. Although, that hasn’t kept us from predicting it may be under new management in 2016. Hey, we never said we’re a quick learner.

So, we got everyone whipped up about a false rumor, one of many that have been attached to the Mirage. And the Rio. And the list goes on and on.

Our sincere apologies go out to Jim Murren for annoying him, and to the PR guy who nearly burst an artery trying to be diplomatic, and to anyone at Mirage who thought their jobs might be in jeopardy.

Mirage

In 2016, we’ll do our best to keep you abreast of everything Vegas.

Somewhere along the way, we even bet award-winning podcaster and author Tim Dressen $100 the Mirage sale announcement would be made by the end of 2015. It’s time to pay up. (This blog post was part of our losing bet, too, by the way.)

From all appearances, 2016 is going to be an epic year in Las Vegas. Openings, closings, implosions, rumors and speculation. You’ll be able to find all that here, as well as our usual supply of WTF.

While we apologize for occasionally getting a story wrong, we’re unapologetic about sometimes sharing things that haven’t yet appeared in a news release. Here, the goal is to entertain and spark conversation, to discover and skewer, to provide value to Las Vegas fanatics so they can squeeze the most out of the greatest city in the world. It’s an imperfect science. Vital Vegas is a hobby, a labor of love, which means we can say what we want, when we want, how we want.

Vital Vegas

Our mission statement.

What we do and how we do it isn’t for everyone, and we’re OK with that. Go read a corporate blog or create a Las Vegas blog of your own. There’s something for everyone on the Internet. Even the people who are way, way too into feet.

Oh, and in case you’ve never visited our About Us page, the “we” in question is one guy who uses the first person plural because he thinks it’s funny.

Thanks for stopping by in 2015, and thanks for the myriad likes, comments and shares. Thanks, too, for calling us on stuff it’s wrong. We can take it.

As in Las Vegas casinos, you win some and you lose some, but if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

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  • Alex

    I’ve been here since Vegas Chatter’s demise. There have been a few articles that have contained items I found offensive (like joking about the MGM fire). The fact that you reply to comments and seem to be willing to accept constructive criticism about your writing kept me around.

    This article solidifies the reason why I continue to visit your site. It perfectly explains why speculative posts have value. While I don’t particularly care that the CEO and PR person had to address rumors of a sale, I think it’s classy to apologize to the Mirage employees.

    • Thanks for saying that, Alex. Always open to hearing what people think, of course, and certainly understand that some of the attempts at humor may go too far. The Mirage story was one of the first where I had to deal with a story having an impact on lots of people, potentially in a negative way (not to mention the story began a serious surge in the MGM Resorts stock price, which adds another layer of WTF, especially if I was duped into running a story that was intentionally fabricated by a source). Hope to hear from you in 2016, too, and I’ll keep an eye on the morbid humor!

  • Jokersmile

    Rumors of the Mirage being sold have been swirling for many years. For some reason this property seems to be the runt in the litter. Employees are always on watch but numb to the constant threats and rumors. At some point something will change there.

    • That’s what I assumed, but apparently this one sent up more red flags, possibly because of all the facts, cumulatively. There’s still some uncertainty ahead, even if it’s not an outright sale, per se.

  • Ferry van Beek

    Hi Scott, loved reading your article! Got a question though. You mention that if the Mirage would be sold it means that Cirque will move out. If I’m correct that did not happen to Mystere when TI was sold to Ruffin. Why would that be different now?

    • Excellent point, which further explains how false clues eventually led down an incorrect path of conclusions. A leap of illogic on my part. I went back and added that thought to the article, thanks!

  • Jonesy55

    Love this blog and I love the Mirage. It’s my 2nd home. Glad you were wrong?

  • Bouldersteve

    Everything is for sale for the right price