Megaclub Invades the Vegas of the East


The recent announcement that Pacha, famous for its nightclubs in Ibiza and New York, will open in September 2015 at entertainment-themed Studio City resort in Macau signifies the first time a brand-name megaclub will occupy a major space on the Cotai Strip.

Studio City is the brainchild of 38-year-old Melco-Crown Entertainment CEO Lawrence Ho, who along with Las Vegas local John Raczka, MCE’s vice president of entertainment development and operations, contracted Las Vegas hospitality consultant Rick Bacchus to explore Ibiza-based nightclub operators as a possible fit for Studio City.

Aptly named, Studio City is an entertainment themed casino-resort, boasting Asia’s highest ferris wheel and the world’s only shaped like a figure eight. A promotional short film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro, directed by Martin Scorsese, will debut in tandem with the grand opening.

In addition to projects in Asia, Bacchus is also developing a large resort project between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and nightlife and entertainment projects in South Korea, Malaysia and Las Vegas, including managing Azure Luxury Pool at the Palazzo.

Bacchus shares an inside look at the logic behind Pacha Macau. Ultimately, its opening will have a impact on the global “nightlife economy,” opening the floodgates for more megaclubs to populate the “Vegas of the East,” as well as make Macau a destination that is just as appealing for entertainment as it is gaming.

Why does Pacha signify a shift in entertainment marketing in Macau?

This nightclub is going to make a tremendous difference in the Macau landscape. It is a game changer. Traditionally, Asian clientele favors gambling much more than entertainment. However, there has been a noticeable shift in the demographics, with lots of wealthy and sophisticated younger people coming quite frequently to Macau. They enjoy gaming as much as they enjoy nightlife and entertainment. They know the DJs and they are familiar with the music, so this will be a great venue and destination for them.

How does Macau look at nightlife now?

Lawrence Ho in his City of Dreams casino also owns the largest nightclub in Macau, Club Cubic. It is always packed. If anyone in Macau had opened a major nightclub as recent as two years ago, timing would have been terrible. This is the perfect time for a dramatic shift as all of the properties are in the construction on their second and third phases of development [and that will create more rooms for guests]. After construction is complete with all properties, their marketing is going to attract [an even larger] demographic from China and the neighboring countries. This will hopefully be the beginning of offering true entertainment and nightlife features to the already successful gaming Mecca.

Why a brand like Pacha and not an already-established nightclub brand from Las Vegas?

There’s a lot of difference between Las Vegas and Macau where nightlife and entertainment are concerned. It is not a secret that Las Vegas gaming operators are today making more of their profit margins on entertainment and nightlife features within their properties, whereas Macau is currently doing [more than] Las Vegas in gaming revenues. Nightlife and entertainment brands are created in Las Vegas. A perfect example is the mega successful XS at Encore, which is the only one of its kind. In Macau, the idea to bring a brand like Pacha was simply because they needed a product with more of a global name recognition.

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