How Las Vegas Became the New Home of US Sports
For the longest time Las Vegas, Nevada, has been crying out for some major sports teams of its own, with sports fans often jumping into the strip’s sportsbooks to place bets on games that are happening anywhere but Sin City.
However, as the city goes about trying to alter its image to suit a more modern customer base, all that is changing. Las Vegas is suddenly becoming a major hub for fans of everything from ice hockey to eSports, catering to those folk who do not just want to play different types of slots all day long or watch cabaret shows.
We take a look at how the Jewel of the Desert managed to turn itself from an arid sport-less waste ground into one of the biggest sporting hubs that the US has to offer.
Las Vegas Golden Knights – NHL Skates into the Desert
The first major sports franchise to take the plunge and move to the desert was the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights, who set up shop in the T-Mobile Arena.
Since their arrival back in 2017 they have been setting the league alight, with performances that have put more established franchises to shame.
Indeed, such was the team’s unexpected dominance in its rookie season that many sports observers were calling them the Leicester City of the NHL, hobbling together a squad of down-and-out free agents who ended up shocking the hockey world.
They have carried that form on till the present day and are now regularly mentioned among the genuine Stanley Cup contenders.
Las Vegas Raiders – Oakland is a Distant Memory
While not much was expected in the way of instant results from the Golden Knights, there was far more expectation placed on the shoulders of those in charge of the Las Vegas Raiders, as video tours of their state of the art stadium went viral over social media and the city itself spent a huge amount of money to bring a prized NFL franchise to Nevada.
American football is still undoubtedly the marquee sport in the US, despite the inroads that the likes of the NBA and others have made, and Vegas having a team has taken the city straight into the big leagues alongside Boston, Chicago and LA.
eSports are Nesting on the Strip
There is a growing trend that is subverting the entire world of sports, with fans increasingly turning to online sources in order to look at what sports are on, and plenty of them searching for eSports schedules rather than those of traditional sports.
The executives of a number of Las Vegas resorts have cottoned on to this and have begun scrambling to produce the very best eSports arena on the strip.
The current holder of that crown is the Luxor, with its HyperX eSports Arena already making waves as it hosts huge tournaments for all levels of player.
Meanwhile, away from the huge resorts, Vegas also boasts some of its very own eSports teams, such as Simplicity and the Las Vegas MiniGunners.
With one of the biggest consumer tech fairs (the CES) taking place in Las Vegas every year, it seems like eSports has well and truly come to stay in Sin City.
Las Vegas Aces – Slam Dunking the Competition
Along with the proliferation of eSports, another trend that is taking off in the world of sport is that of teams and leagues finally cashing in on the huge potential of women’s sport.
In this regard, Las Vegas has long been ahead of the game, playing host to one of the best rosters in the WNBA, the appropriately named Las Vegas Aces.
Just as their fellow Vegas sports counterparts, the Aces are a force to be reckoned with and reached the WNBA finals this summer.
Who knows, perhaps an NBA franchise is just around the corner to help Sin City work towards earning a full set of American sports franchises. The only thing that sometimes holds it back is the area’s unrelenting heat, which is not kind to baseball fields or golf greens.