Las Vegas is widely regarded as the entertainment capital of the world and sports are one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the USA. But surprisingly, Las Vegas isn’t known as a major sporting city.
Major league sports have finally arrived
The main historical reason for the lack of major sports in the city is that Vegas is the USA’s main hub for gambling and sports betting. As such, hosting a major league team was regarded by some as a conflict of interest. However, such doubts have been removed and the city is now entering the major sports arena. The NFL franchise, Las Vegas Raiders (previously known as the Oakland Raiders), relocated to the city in 2020 following in the footsteps of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL franchise, who reached the Stanley Cup Finals in their first season after being established in 2017. In the same year, the city also welcomed a WNBA team (Vegas Aces) and a USL soccer team called the Las Vegas Lights FC.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS ARE GOING TO THE STANLEY CUP FINAL!<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VegasBorn?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VegasBorn</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Qdw7b5Rlib”>pic.twitter.com/Qdw7b5Rlib</a></p>— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) <a href=”https://twitter.com/GoldenKnights/status/998318863707246594?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 20, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Boxing capital of the world
Despite the previous lack of major league sports, Vegas has long been a destination for big boxing events; anyone who has attended one will know what a spectacle they are. Top fights that have been hosted in the city include Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis in 1999, Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns in 1985, Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao in 2015 and Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury in 2020.
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Fury is now pushing for his proposed fight with Anthony Joshua to be held in Las Vegas although Joshua would prefer to fight in the UK. However, they have their mandatory fights to win first with Fury having the tougher contest, but he is expected to get through it comfortably based on the latest boxing odds. A contest between the two British heavyweights is set to be a fight for the ages, especially if unifying the division is the reward for the winner.
Super Bowl could happen soon
Las Vegas’ history of hosting boxing extravaganzas and other big sporting events such as the NBA Summer League paves the way for the city to host major events such as the Super Bowl at the Las Vegas Raiders’ $2 billion Allegiant Stadium, perhaps as soon as 2025 or 2026 with venues for those years yet to be decided. The city certainly has the accommodation and entertainment facilities to make the Super Bowl a huge party-style event like no other.
On the Radar
The fact that Vegas is on the NFL radar was confirmed when the city was chosen as the host for the 2020 NFL Draft. This was seen as the first step towards bringing the Super Bowl to the city. The NFL is a brand new market to the city and the Draft was seen as a good way of promoting the sport at a local level before rushing to host a global event.
The NFL might want to wait to see how the Raiders fare in terms of ticket sales before they make a final decision. They’ll certainly want to make sure that all the factors are positive before putting a firm proposal in place.
Could 2024 be an option?
The 2024 Super Bowl is due to take place in New Orleans but a proposed change to the NFL schedule could cause a clash with the Mardi Gras Festival. That could mean the event could be switched to another venue with Vegas an option. If that scenario happens, Vegas could be a Super Bowl city sooner than expected.