Is Vegas the New Sports Capital of the West?
April 27, 2018
When you think of sports towns, what cities come to mind? Boston? Chicago? Los Angeles? The adrenaline, the local pride, and the competition all make American sports something we crave. In fact, according to a study conducted by WalletHub, the average American spends nearly eight hours a week catching up or tuning into their favorite game. That’s some serious commitment! In addition, according to the 2017 edition of the PWC Sports Outlook, the North American sports market produced a total of $69.3 in revenue in 2017 and is projecting a total of $76.5 in revenue by 2020 based on the four key segments: media rights, gate revenues, sponsorship, and merchandising.
In 2017, WalletHub conducted a survey to pinpoint the best sports cities in the country and Boston, New York City, and LA came out on top. But 2018 brings new players to the competition and Las Vegas stands a chance at being one of the largest sports cities this year.
Which begs the question: is Vegas the new sports capital of the west?
Looking at the Facts
Las Vegas has long been known as the Entertainment Capital of the World and from pool parties to first-class shows, it comes as no surprise that the city has always been a mecca of fun. In addition, Vegas has always held its spot as a sports hub and things like sportsbooks, sports betting, and more make Vegas the place to be for major sporting events.
Some of the busiest weekends in Vegas surround championships like March Madness, the NFL Championship, and the World Series. But in 2017, our city took our love of sports one step further when we welcomed the Vegas Golden Knights, our very own NHL team. Now in the playoffs, they are one of the most successful expansion teams of all time! Today, we also have a WNBA team, a professional soccer team, and an NFL team on the horizon. It’s a great time to be a Vegas sports fan!
Current Sports in Las Vegas
NHL – Vegas Golden Knights
One of the most notable professional teams to call our city home is the Vegas Golden Knights, the first NHL expansion team since 2000. And fans will agree that they were worth the wait! The Golden Knights have proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with and have consistently drawn crowds of more than 17,000 fans at their home at the T-Mobile Arena. Not only has the NHL team shown their hometown some love, but they’re also fighting their way through the 2018 NHL Playoffs. With a 51-24 record, can Las Vegas expect to bring home the Stanley Cup?
UFC / MMA
Although not a local sport, another professional event to keep your eye on are the UFC and MMA franchises. UFC was created in 1993 and incorporated well-balanced fighting techniques, skills, and styles, known as mixed martial arts. Las Vegas is home to the $12 million dollar headquarters and training facilities making this a mecca for the sport. There are more than 40 fights a year and most of them star some of the top-ranked fighters in the world, with a large amount of matches happening in Las Vegas and at least five events on the Vegas calendar for 2018. The UFC 222 event was held at the T-Mobile Arena in March. The event drew a crowd of over 12,000 for $1,367,672 live gate. Be on the lookout for these upcoming events happening throughout the year in your very own city!
In addition to UFC and MMA, Las Vegas has been known as the fight capital of the US. While professional boxing started in New York, it quickly became clear that a sport with this much hype needed a glitzier home. Las Vegas has brought in some of the biggest boxing stars, such as Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, and more, because of our larger-than-life entertainment appeal. Not only is boxing a great entertainment option for locals and visitors, but it has also helped stimulate the non-gaming economy. With boxing on the long list of Las Vegas sports, we’re inching closer and closer to that sports capital crown.
As a main hub for boxing, Las Vegas hosted one of the biggest fights of all time in 2017. The Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor event pulled in over $600 million in revenue and accounted for 4.3 million North American pay-per-view buys. Vegas was the perfect venue for this spectacular event and locals hope to bring more big names to the area. Fights are usually held at the T-Mobile Arena or MGM Grand Las Vegas.
WNBA – Las Vegas Aces
The newest pro sports franchise to call Las Vegas home is the Las Vegas Aces, the new WNBA team! The Aces officially announced their move to Vegas in November of 2017, and their 34-game schedule will kick off on May 27th against the Seattle Storm. With a successful draft this month the team is sure to be a huge success in their inaugural season. Home games will be played at the Mandalay Bay Events Center so get your tickets soon to witness the action live!
USL – Las Vegas Lights FC
Another professional sports team to call Las Vegas home is the Las Vegas Lights FC, Las Vegas’ professional soccer team. This is the first pro soccer team since 1979, when we bid farewell to the Las Vegas Seagulls. The USL expansion team kicked off their season (literally!) in March and plays at Cashman Field. Located near downtown, this is a quick and easy way to experience the joy of Las Vegas soccer.
Triple-A Baseball – Las Vegas 51s
Also playing at Cashman Field is the city’s Minor League Baseball team, the Las Vegas 51s. The history of this franchise is lengthy, but to sum it up, the team was affiliated with the San Diego Padres and was sold to Mandalay Baseball Properties in 2008. After undergoing a few more changes, the team was eventually purchased by Summerlin Las Vegas Baseball Club, LLC. The new 10,000-seat Las Vegas Ballpark in Summerlin broke ground in February of this year and the team will begin playing there in the 2019 season.
NFL – Las Vegas Raiders
As the spark of sports in Las Vegas, nearly everyone knows by now that the now Oakland Raiders will be calling Las Vegas their home for the NFL 2020 season. An NFL owners vote in the beginning of 2017, resulting in a 31-1 score to relocate the Bay Area team to Las Vegas. Not only is this a great addition for this Nevada city, but the move will be lucrative for the franchise as well. A billion-dollar stadium is under construction and will ready to welcome the team! constructed to hold the team.
Not only is Las Vegas known for more traditional sports, but it’s also become quite the hub for ESports. Esports are multiplayer video games that are played competitively by professional gamers. Thousands of spectators gather to watch games like Madden, Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, and more. Las Vegas is doing everything we can to harness this new sport and the official Esports Arena just opened in Luxor Las Vegas.
There are so many other Las Vegas sports to list, such as the rodeo, motorsports, poker, and more. So what’s the final consensus? Do you think Las Vegas has what it takes to reign as the new sports capital of the west? If you ask us, we’d say definitely, and it’s only getting better.