Las Vegas has become the unlikely — or maybe the inevitable — center of the sports universe. A city that was once off-limits to any sort of professional sports because it allowed gambling on games has now become a desirable destination that hosts the National Football League’s Raiders and the National Hockey League’s Golden Knights.
Those two teams have driven tourism and revenue for Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Caesars Entertainment Inc Report and MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get MGM Resorts International Report, the two titans of the Las Vegas Strip.
The Golden Knights play 41 home games a year at T-Mobile Arena, which sits directly on the Strip, walking distance from multiple Caesars and MGM properties, Each game drives people to restaurants, casinos, and bars, adding to Vegas’s party atmosphere.
NHL games, however, pale in comparison to the massive event that every NFL game delivers. The Raiders play only eight home games, which makes each one a travel opportunity not just for Raiders fans from California but also for people who support the opposing teams.
The success of these two teams has led to Las Vegas becoming a destination for major sports events. The NFL Draft will take over the city starting April 28 and Formula 1 will take over the famed Las Vegas Strip for a race in November 2023.
All this has made Las Vegas a bargaining chip for teams in the other two major sports leagues, which don’t have a presence in Sin City.
Las Vegas has been a vague destination for any National Basketball Association team that’s negotiating an arena deal with its home city, but no specific team has emerged as likely to move.
For Major League Baseball, however, the Oakland Athletics have made clear that they’re looking to move to Las Vegas, and the team appears to have narrowed its search.
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The Oakland A’s Near a Las Vegas Move
The A’s at first appeared to be using Las Vegas to force Oakland, their current home, into offering the team a better deal. That’s what the Raiders did as well, but the reality is that a pro sports franchise brings more economic value to Las Vegas than it does to perhaps any other city.
Las Vegas has a nearly endless supply of hotel rooms to fill, and Caesars, MGM, and the other casino operators have gaming floors and restaurants that need patrons. Pro sports teams fill those hotel rooms, bring people to casinos, and, well, those people need to eat as well.
A baseball team does not create events on the level of NFL games. But the Athletics would play 81 home games a year in a stadium proposed for on or near the Las Vegas Strip that would seat around 30,000 people. That capacity is smaller than usual for MLB stadiums.
Those tickets still may not be as hard to come by as Raiders or even Golden Knights seats, but people on vacation will want to go to A’s games and that will be a driver for the city’s casinos.
The A’s Target Two Sites
With Oakland balking on building the A’s a new stadium, the team has turned its focus to Las Vegas. And now, the team has clearly turned its sights to the Las Vegas Strip area.
A’s President Dave Kaval on April 26 said the team was considering two sites, one that it would develop on its own and another it would build with a major casino operator, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Kaval outlined the state of negotiations for a report in the paper.
“It’s kind of coming down to one that’s more of a joint-venture partnership and one that’s more of us going in alone, like the Raiders’ approach,” Kaval told the Review-Journal.
“We’re trying to balance the pros and cons of those and get to something that could be announced. But we want to be thoughtful because there’s a lot of complicated negotiations with anything like this and we want to make sure we respect the time, intentions, and negotiating with all the parties.”
The team has artist renderings of its planned $1 billion stadium, which would have a roof — perhaps a retractable one — to protect patrons from the Las Vegas sun.