Las Vegas is no more just the Entertainment capital of the world. It’s also becoming a major sports destination thanks to a flurry of new teams and new stadiums that are creating unbounded energy in Sin City.
The wildly successful inaugural season of the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights (VGK) last year literally became the city’s focal point and inspired a sense of community the likes of which Las Vegas has never before seen or experienced, according to Uri Vaknin, a partner with KRE Capital, whose company purchased a collection of condominium towers in Las Vegas in 2013. The team won the Western Conference championship and made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, a feat heralded around the world. The team’s home ice is at T-Mobile Arena, the top-grossing arena in the world with a capacity of 20,000 and sold out crowds for nearly every hockey game.
“The Vegas Golden Knights easily rank alongside the city’s many celebrities and have become the darlings of the city,” Vaknin said. “And with the National Football League’s Raiders making its debut in 2020 at Las Vegas Stadium, the new $1.8 billion venue currently under construction, hockey and football have literally put Las Vegas on par with other great sports cities throughout the country. It’s a remarkable trajectory and one that only Las Vegas could pull off in just a few short years.”
In addition to professional hockey and football, Las Vegas is also home to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Aces, who just landed the top 2019 draft pick and are expecting an even stronger second season this year. The Aces’ home is at the Mandalay Bay Resort special events center.
The Las Vegas Lights Football Club of the United Soccer League played its first season just last year at Cashman Field near downtown Las Vegas. And the city’s oldest professional sports franchise, recently renamed the Las Vegas Aviators, is entering its 37th season. The team’s new home is the brand new $150 million Las Vegas Ballpark. In total, Las Vegas sports venues are expected to have a combined 352,000 seats by 2021.
The city is also home to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, host of not one but two major NASCAR events; and Ultimate Fighting Championship, whose new Las Vegas home is headquarters for this powerhouse mixed martial arts brand with a global presence.
“We are well on our way to being the sports AND entertainment capital of the world,” said Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst for Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, who estimates a $636 million boost to the local economy from existing and future teams. “That’s 4,300 jobs for an industry we almost didn’t recognize as existing five years ago,” he said in a recent Las Vegas Review Journal story.
While the economic impact of professional sports is impressive, the role they play in enhancing quality of life for Las Vegans is without measure. According to Vaknin, sports were among the very few elements missing in our world-class city.
“Not only do sports drive visitation from tourists, fueling our local economy, sports enhance quality of life for those who live here,” he said. “Catching a game is part of the common vernacular and resident sports fans are relishing their city’s new offerings. The city is no more just about dining, shopping, gaming and hospitality, it’s all about winning…. at hockey, football, soccer, baseball and basketball. What’s not to love?”