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The Las Vegas Grand Sports Experiment Starts Tonight

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Fans purchase official Golden Knights merchandise in November at Toshiba Plaza in Las Vegas. Photo: Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal

The grand experiment in some people’s eyes starts as Las Vegas hosts a professional sports event featuring a major league team that calls the city home. The Vegas Golden Knights host Arizona and it is the first of 41 tests as to whether Las Vegas, an international entertainment spot, can be a successful sports city. The early returns are good in terms of selling tickets but the lingering questions remain.

Is Las Vegas strong enough financially to support a National Hockey League team? Are there enough corporate partners who will continue to buy high end tickets and are there enough corporate partners who will buy in arena signage. Las Vegas will also be getting a National Football League team sometime in the future whether that is in 2019 or 2020, Mark Davis’s Raiders. How is that going to impact the Vegas Golden Knights? Then there is the question of the casinos owners. Will they support the NHL and the NFL?

Las Vegas has been in the process of creating a new narrative about the area. Back in the 1950s, Las Vegas offered gambling and shows. But in 2017, gambling is omnipresent and some local casinos offer shows as well. There is nothing novel there except Las Vegas offers big names while casinos elsewhere feature local talent or tribute bands.

Las Vegas is a small market, it is growing but it remains a small market with the service industry being one of the main staples of the economy. It is also a destination hub and both an NHL and NFL teams can go after those who visit Las Vegas and may watch a game. Las Vegas is one of the most visited places in the United States. Gambling is not an issue. The NBA holds a summer league featuring teenagers in town. Every city has temptations. Las Vegas is now a big league town.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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