Deprived of a major professional sports franchise for decades due to the interference potential of the game, the city of Las Vegas is looking to add its third team in the past five years.
Tourism officials are thrilled with the gossip – and it’s just gossip at the moment – that the Oakland Athletics could move to Sin City, just like their neighbor the Oakland Raiders football team did in 2020.
According to a terrific story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Oakland Athletics President Dave Kaval traveled to Las Vegas in May and attended a playoff hockey game featuring the Golden Knights, the the city’s first major professional sports franchise that joined the National Hockey League in 2017..
Before that, Las Vegas was best known for hosting big professional fights and, later, NASCAR races for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
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“We believe that live sporting events attract our visitors,” Lori Nelson-Kraft, senior vice president of communications and public affairs at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told LVRJ. “We have seen the number of visits to the destination increase with annual events such as the National Finals rodeo, UFC and NASCAR events, but we also see the opportunity to generate more visits with our professional sports teams. “
Baseball is a different bird, however.
Las Vegas hosts just 41 home hockey games a year at the state-of-the-art T-Mobile Arena. The Raiders play eight home games a year at Allegiant Stadium.
Baseball teams, however, play 81 home games on a schedule heavily skewed in favor of division rivals. So while a potential Las Vegs Athletics franchise would see traditional opponents like the Houston Astros or the Los Angeles Angels or the Seattle Mariners two or three times a year for a three or four game series, it would see big draws like the Yankees and New York Mets. , the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Chicago Cubs only once a year – and some of them don’t depend on the changing schedule at all.
Then again, as the article suggests, there is a lot that can be said to attract visitors who want to make a baseball game part of their Vegas experience.
The Vegas Golden Knights have proven this theory with the T-Mobile Arena which annually hosts thousands of Canadians who want to see their Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens,
Jeremy Aguero, who monitors the economy of southern Nevada with Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, said he had not seen any studies showing the percentage of fans of Golden Knights games coming from out of town. However, he believes that between 15 and 20 percent of T-Mobile’s 18,000 seats are occupied by foreigners.
Additionally, of the 55,000 personal seat licenses sold for Allegiant Stadium to see the Raiders, 22,000 went to people outside of Las Vegas, including 7,000 from Oakland.