Las Vegas has become the sports capital of the United States. It’s not that it has the championship history or pedigree of New York, Los Angeles or Boston, but Sin City has become the most sought-after location for big events.

It’s not based on market size or quality of local fans, it’s because Las Vegas has quickly become the go-to destination for big events. No other city has the range of world-class hotels and restaurants clustered 4.2 miles away – with most major Caesars Entertainment (CZR) MGM Resorts International (MGM) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) properties much closer together than that.

Las Vegas is a city that can host the National Football League Draft and expand that event. It is home to the biggest Ultimate Fighting Championship events and hosts many top boxing events. Las Vegas has even become a key pay-per-view home for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and its fast-growing rival All Elite Wrestling.

There simply isn’t a bigger place to host a sporting event and that’s why the National Hockey League’s expansion team, the Golden Knights, and the NFL’s former Oakland Raiders have become major players in their leagues. You don’t need to draw a crowd in Las Vegas, crowds come anyway.

That’s why every major sport wants to have a presence in Las Vegas with Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics flirting heavily with the city and there are several plans underway to build a National Basketball Association arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

The NBA and Las Vegas seem inevitable

Once the Supreme Court made sports betting a state-by-state decision, Las Vegas ceased to be a place no professional team could go because it was the only one with legal sports betting. The NHL was quick to capitalize on this with an expansion team while the Raiders’ move always seemed just a matter of timing, as the team has a cash-strapped owner and played in an outdated stadium. in Oakland.

The Athletics is in the same situation where the team is publicly negotiating with Oakland, but it seems destined for Las Vegas. This is because the city pretty much guarantees sales, corporate box sales, all-star matches, and many other ways to earn money.

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With the NBA, however, there is a major difference. There’s no clear team looking for a new home (Oakland doesn’t have a basketball team) and Las Vegas isn’t the only city looking for a team. Seattle, once home to the Supersonics, has become an incredibly attractive option for an expansion team or an existing team due to all the tech money located in that area.

Because of that, it actually seems like the NBA might be smart to consider expanding into two teams. It’s certainly a possibility, as is a team in a small market on the move, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver made it clear in an exclusive interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the league has its sights set on Vegas.

What’s next for the NBA and Las Vegas?

The NBA already uses Las Vegas as the home for its summer league — a sort of exhibition season for rookies and sophomores. Which is why Silver was in town so he could speak to the newspaper about how the league views Sin City.

Silver made it clear that no formal expansion talks were underway, but he noted that one of the things that may have been holding Las Vegas back — market size — may no longer be an issue.

“Perhaps the size of local markets is becoming less relevant than before,” he told the Review-Journal. “Vegas has a huge footprint, but from a conventional standpoint, in terms of the number of TVs in homes, it’s a relatively small market.”

An expansion team would be entitled to a share of the league’s national television contract, but adding a team in Las Vegas wouldn’t make that deal any more valuable. This is a factor that owners need to consider when setting the fees for an expansion team. A new Las Vegas team can pay $2 billion to enter the league, which would be shared by the 30 existing owners, but they would then get a share of national television revenue which is currently $2.4 billion per year. year.

That number could double or even triple with the next TV deal starting in 2024. Because of this, the NBA won’t make a decision on Las Vegas until its next TV deal is locked in.

“How we divide our (media) rights going forward will also impact the value of a franchise here (Las Vegas),” Silver said. “So for all of those reasons, we’re just not going to engage at this time.”

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