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ENTERTAINMENT | Apr 26

Is “Sin City” Now “Sports City”?

Is "Sin City" Now "Sports City"?
Dario Franchitti of Scotland | Jonathan ferrey/getty images for indycar/afp

Las Vegas, also affectionately known as Sin City, is becoming a destination for professional sports franchises and major sporting events alike. The F1 Grand Prix is already scheduled for a trip on the Strip in November while the Oakland A’s rumors linking the franchise to Vegas as their newest location continue to swirl.

Welcome to Vegas!

Whether you’re booking a convention, planning a vacation, or considering moving your professional sports franchise to another locale – Vegas wants you! There was a time when Las Vegas was verboten to pro sports leagues and its franchises but since PASPA was overturned in 2018, paving the way for licensed and regulated sports betting in the United States, the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB have suddenly had a change of heart.

Because of the loads of dough they are receiving in corporate sponsorships from online sports betting giants like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Ceasars to name a few, the leagues now not only tolerate sports betting but have become its biggest cheerleaders.

The hypocrisy of Roger Goodell, and NFL commissioners before him, decrying sports betting as an existential threat to his hallowed game, only to pivot 180 degrees the moment there is money on the table, is nothing short of staggering.

However, now that the professional sports leagues have eagerly hopped into bed with the bookies they once excoriated, it’s game on for Vegas. Think about the teams and events that call, or will call, Las Vegas their home:

  • Las Vegas Raiders (NFL)
  • Vegas Golden Knights (NHL)
  • Las Vegas Aces (WNBA)
  • Las Vegas Desert Dogs (National Lacrosse League)
  • Pro Bowl (2023)
  • Super Bowl (2024)
  • Final Four (2028)
  • College Football Playoff (2025)
  • Formula 1 Grand Prix (2023)

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Athletics Eyeing Vegas?

Perhaps the question mark above is a bit misleading. There really isn’t any question as to whether the Oakland Athletics will be moving to Las Vegas, it’s now only a question of when. The biggest MLB news and the league’s worst-kept secret is the change of venue for the A’s from its 55-year tenure in Oakland to the bright lights, glitz, and glamour of Las Vegas.

A 49-acre site west of the Strip has been purchased by the team and it appears the only thing left to do is build the stadium. Reports are that 2027 will see the A’s playing their inaugural season in Sin City.

A press release from the Athletics stated, “Even with support from fans, leaders at the city, county, and state level, and throughout the broader community, the process to build a new ballpark in Oakland has made little forward progress for some time. We recognize that this is very hard to hear. We are disappointed that we have been unable to achieve our shared vision of a waterfront ballpark.”

And while Oakland’s mayor stated that the city had done all it could do to keep the team from leaving, it should be noted that the Golden State Warriors left in 2019 for more comfortable digs across the bay in San Francisco while the Raiders said hasta la vista to Oaktown in 2017. Apparently, whatever the city is doing to keep its professional sports franchises from leaving isn’t nearly enough.

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Does Vegas Have an Identity Crisis?

Think about the way you act in front of your grandmother, the woman who cherishes every little thing you do. The moment you see her you smile broadly, give her a gentle squeeze, kiss her on the cheek, and stand before her in all your snarly-toothed, dimpled glory. You are perfection incarnate and she can’t get enough of you.

Now let’s see you take that act to the bar where you’re on the prowl, cruisin’ for honeys, and lookin’ all slick. You’re a motha effin’ barracuda stalking its prey, cool as the other side of the pillow with every move you make.

Now try being the mack daddy in front of Granny. Or try pullin’ the mama’s baby routine at da club. Good luck with that. But if you do, make sure you have a camera rolling.

But unlike us, Vegas can be transparent and nobody will judge. It doesn’t have to be a gambling-only destination, and it hasn’t been for quite a while. When the corporations took complete control from the mobsters they rebranded themselves to woo both corporate events and family vacationers. Old Vegas never had amusement parks and rides geared toward kids but now it’s hard to find a resort on the Strip without family entertainment of some sort.

Las Vegas is a one-size fits all kind of town and the addition of professional sports and sporting events added to its ever-expanding landscape will only enhance its allure. Whether it’s Sin City or Titletown, Vegas will thrive no matter what.

I’m outta here. Let’s ride!

 

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