Las Vegas moving from "afterthought" to sports hub

Las Vegas moving from afterthought to sports hub

Las Vegas moving from afterthought to sports hub: Until recently, Las Vegas “was an afterthought” to host major sporting events, but the combination of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a law in ‘18 that essentially legalized sports betting nationwide, as well as the opening of T-Mobile Arena in ‘16 and Allegiant Stadium in ‘20, “changed everything,” according to Mark Anderson of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Not only do the NFL and NHL have teams in Las Vegas, but the NFL Draft will “take place” there Thursday through Saturday. The draft’s presence in Las Vegas is the latest indication of the “giant step Las Vegas has taken as a sports city.” It will “draw hundreds of thousands of people” to the city and make it “front and center to a national TV audience.” Other major professional and college events have been played there with “more on the way,” including an NCAA men’s basketball regional in ‘23, a F1 race for at least the next three years, beginning in ‘23, and college hockey’s Frozen Four in ‘26. Las Vegas also “could be in line” for a future CFP National Championship and Final Four. The ‘24 Super Bowl “likely won’t be the last in Las Vegas,” which could “become a part of the NFL’s rotation of cities for that game.” NFL VP/ Events Strategy Matt Shapiro said, “Las Vegas certainly has the ingredients for what it takes to be a great Super Bowl host” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 4/23).

BRING ON THE FANS: In Las Vegas, Richard Velotta wrote “no one knows how many people will be in town this week” when NFL Draft festivities begin Thursday, but it “will be a lot.” Consider that Nashville, the host for the ‘19 draft, “drew an estimated 600,000 people.” That 600,000 attendance estimate was “a total over three days” and was “arrived at with the help of NFL OnePass app check-ins.” The free app “provides information on schedules, player appearances, contests and other digital features” during the three-day event, Thursday through Saturday. If draft attendees in Las Vegas are counted the way Nashville counted its attendance, the city could “potentially host close to 1 million people.” Nashville has noted that 75% of its out-of-town visitors “attended multiple days of the draft” while 50% of its local residents “were there more than one day” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 4/24).

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