Is Major League Sport Ready to Take Hold in Vegas?



By John O’Leary

Over the decades, Las Vegas has become famous for many things but major league sport hasn’t been one of them. However, the signs are that this is all about to change and, indeed, it has already started to with the arrival of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. Now ice hockey may seem like an unlikely sport for a city where the average October daytime temperature is over 80o F but the team has already started to make itself at home at the T-Mobile Stadium enjoying a record-breaking run of wins for an inaugural season.

Already they are also proving to be a big draw for the crowds and, as early as 2015, there were believed to be 13,200 season ticket applications from Nevadans desperate for some major league sports action to call their own.

Scheduling issues

It’s this kind of support, or lack of it, that may well have held back the development of top level sport in the city in the past. After all, Las Vegas may have many people in it but a large proportion of them work in the hospitality industry with unpredictable shifts. So scheduling games at a time when everyone who might want to attend can make it proves to be next to impossible.

Of course, that’s not to say that sport hasn’t always played an important part in the city’s history and even mythology. It’s been the location for countless boxing prizefights including the biggest ever between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield in 1999 when over 17,000 watched in the arena.


Bringing the world of poker to Vegas

It’s equally famous for its huge poker tournaments that also combine the city’s love of gambling. The biggest of these is undoubtedly the World Series of Poker which is held over the summer and which attracts players of every level from all over the world. The tournament contains many different competitions; the biggest is undoubtedly the Main Event, which is eventually decided in late October with the overall winner scooping an $8 million prize.

But both of these examples are spectacles in their own individual ways and don’t offer the season-long appeal for dedicated fans. Add this to the many other attractions of Vegas from the big name performers to the casinos themselves and it’s easy to see where the problem of attracting major league interest may have arisen.


Touchdown on its way

However, many believe the tide is turning following the arrival of the Golden Knights and with the news that from 2020 the Oakland Raiders NFL team will be relocating from over the border in California to play all their home games in the Las Vegas Stadium. There’s also good news for women’s sport with a WNBA basketball team due to start playing in the Mandalay Bay Events Centre from the 2018 season onwards.

So now all it will take to complete the set is for a baseball team to make the move and Vegas could find itself catapulted into the major league across a full range of sport. If or when this will happen no-one knows. But if it does it’s sure to count as a major home run for Sin City.

In Summary

For many years Las Vegas has not boasted any major league sports teams but, with the arrival of the Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey team, this is beginning to change. And while it will still be famous for its boxing matches and poker tournaments like the World Series of Poker, from 2020 it will also have the Oakland Raiders NFL team and from 2018 a women’s professional basketball team too. So it seems that, at last, major league sport’s come to Vegas.

Powered by

Speak Your Mind