Las Vegas: A Sports Mecca

Guest Opinion by Sophia Antoinette Roselli
  1. Introduction

When it comes to entertainment and gambling, Las Vegas, Nevada is, without a doubt, a difficult city to outshine. Nowhere else in the United States, or arguably the world, can you find a location so geared to pleasing the travelers it attracts in droves. Countless conventions are held in Las Vegas every year. Fifteen of the top twenty-five hotels in the world reside in Las Vegas. Along with high-end shopping and dining, the city is saturated in captivating sights and alluring activities. The way a national landmark might be admired for its natural beauty or historical value, Las Vegas is famous for being a longtime nexus of entertainment and gambling. With all that said, it is not hard to imagine why Las Vegas has been nicknamed the “Entertainment Capital of the World”. With so many tantalizing sights and shows, Las Vegas is undoubtedly regarded, around the globe, as a major entertainment center.

Where other entertainment centers might lose their luster after a few decades, Las Vegas is the kind of vacation destination that withstands the test of time. Not long after the 1930s, establishments for recreation became a common sight in Las Vegas. Today, recreation establishments and upscale legal gambling are the cornerstones of Las Vegas’ identity. From person to person, “Sin City” is described by most as little else than one giant den of gaming. Given the amount of wealth generated by gambling, such a view is not unfounded. According to casino revenue of 2017, gambling generates roughly $11 billion in revenue annually for Las Vegas.[1] Sports betting alone generates nearly $5 billion in revenue every year, with other casino activities (poker for example) making up hundreds of millions of dollars.[2][3] A portion of such funds are, of course, funneled back into the city itself with the well known gambling tax, making legal gambling a vital part of Las Vegas.

Recently, the United States Supreme Court legalized sports gambling among all 50 states of America.[4] For the next few years there will be a substantial amount of room for growth in the gambling industry. Some say this will make the coming years challenging for Las Vegas, as competition can be unforgiving, and many states are already planning to capitalize on the legalization, but others beg to disagree.[5] Las Vegas is not just a city where gambling is legal; it is an icon. A place that has long since stood vibrant, existing today as a monument to both the start of the 20th century and the modern era. Las Vegas has adapted to suit the lives and lusts of those the city attracts, and it will continue to do so for years to come. Most of all though, Las Vegas embodies the best traits of the American dream; the freedom and opportunity to do what you want, when you want, and how you want. This is the essence of Las Vegas, a city like no other place on earth. Given the amount of annual visitors to Las Vegas, others must agree.

According to statistics from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority, in 2017, Las Vegas received over 42 million visitors.[6] While it is true that cities like Paris and Bangkok receive a higher yearly visitor count, Las Vegas is merely a fraction of their size. Considering Las Vegas’ population is roughly 600,000 (although the greater metropolitan area has a population of 2,000,000) 43,000,000 visitors in a year is quite a significant feat.[7][8] Most towns and cities do not see the same amount of visitors within a decade. In 2017, seventy-nine percent of Las Vegas’ visitors visited Las Vegas previously, with twenty-one percent visiting for the first time.[9] With thousands of things to see and do, and a globally recognized allure, it is no surprise that Las Vegas draws repeat visitors.

In 2017, while staying overnight, ninety percent of Las Vegas’ visitors stayed in one of the 148,896 hotel and motel rooms in Las Vegas.[10] Since the beginning of 2018, Las Vegas attracted nearly 4 million people per month (done). The majority of all visitors, in 2018 and decades past, have all gone to Las Vegas for “pleasure”.[11] While some of those visitors may have spent most of their time on special events or other activities, the majority of those who go to Las Vegas inevitably spend a portion of their time gambling. Only fifteen percent of people visiting Las Vegas initially plan on playing games of chance, yet seventy percent of all visitors end up doing so anyway.[12] Such is the magic of Las Vegas. Whether you are beholding Las Vegas’ charm in person, or you are halfway across the country watching a related add on a television, Las Vegas has a way of drawing people in and keeping them coming back for more, in ways that few other cities around the globe can. With the city’s irrefutable and deserved fame, Las Vegas can even be viewed (and often is) as a bucket list destination suitable for all ages.

With Las Vegas’ rich history of entertainment and gambling, it may be hard for some to imagine the city being widely regarded for anything else. Despite that, a new era of the city may soon be emerging. Las Vegas is well on its way to becoming a sports mecca of unforeseen renown. Already existing as a mecca of varied entertainment and gambling, Las Vegas has enough recognition to potentially attract more sporting events, professional sports teams, and, by extension, sports fans. Among other occurrences, in recent years there have been several global sports events in Las Vegas; from new types of golf tournaments to boxing and UFC.

In the beginning of 2017, the Oakland Raiders announced they would be moving to Las Vegas.[13] Towards the end of 2017, the Vegas Golden Knights made their NHL debut.[14] Not long after, the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA announced their move to the Las Vegas area.[15] Considering Las Vegas’ aforementioned allure, it is no surprise that three professional sports teams have decided to base themselves in the City of Lights, with more to come. Given how closely Las Vegas is already tied to sports (hosting professional sporting events and being the capital of sports gambling within the United States) it was only a matter of time before a professional sports team or more decided to make Las Vegas their home. Considering the early success of the NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights, there is a great amount of potential for other professionals’ teams to base themselves in Las Vegas as well, thus securing the city’s future as the worlds next great sports mecca.

As of now, Las Vegas exists as a city rife with opportunity and value. Thanks to the efforts of the Knights and their fans, Las Vegas now has the attention of the sports world. Citizens are already embracing Las Vegas’ new path, and outsiders are beginning to see just what Las Vegas can offer. With so much to gain, Las Vegas’ status as a sports mecca is a welcome inevitability. However, how will a concentration of sports teams affect Las Vegas? What could possibly make the city attractive to leagues? Will professional teams remain prosperous despite the aforementioned myriad of entertainment options in Las Vegas? Most of all, where will this new era take Las Vegas?

  1. The Las Vegas Golden Knights

The Las Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League (NHL) are the first successful professional sports team to ever be based in Las Vegas, Nevada.[16] Before the team’s creation, the idea of any major league team being based in Las Vegas, and prospering there, was questionable. The stigma brought by widespread legal gambling and the supposedly too-small population of the city (estimated at over 600,000 in 2016, though the greater metropolitan area now has a population close to 2,000,000) has, until recent years, deterred many-a-team from calling Las Vegas “home,” to the point that many were convinced that a sports team of professional level in Las Vegas was an impossibility.[17]

Despite the apparent obstacles though, there were still those who believed a professional sports team was not an impossibility, and that a team would bring to Las Vegas a valuable level of prosperity, publicity, positivity, and more for visitors and locals alike. William Foley, owner of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, was one such person.

William P. Foley II was born on December 14, in the year 1944.[18] It was during his youth, while often playing an informal type of ice hockey called “shinny,” that Foley first began to cultivate an appreciation for sports, specifically hockey, and a later understanding of how such a game’s merits can bring a community together.[19] Today, at the wizened age of 74, William Foley has, among other things, made himself a success in business, finance, and various areas of investment.[20] One such investment, which Foley wholeheartedly believed to be worthwhile at the time, was an abundance of resources spent on making the Las Vegas Golden Knights a reality.[21]

The question of why exactly William Foley believed such an endeavor to be both plausible and beneficial is a pervading one, even to his peers.[22] Years before Foley made the bid for an NHL team, he proposed the idea of bringing an NHL expansion team to Las Vegas among friends and close business partners.[23] Between all of them, the common consensus was that he was “crazy” for even entertaining the notion.[24] However, even as some doubted the plausibility of his goal, William Foley maintained his belief; a NHL team belongs in Las Vegas, and the more he persisted, the more Foley realized that an outstanding number of Nevada residents agree.[25] As professional hockey in Las Vegas came closer and closer to being a reality, it became easier for Foley to justify spending his own resources on creating a team. Foley did so by paying a record breaking $500,000,000 expansion fee that ensured the Golden Knights a home in Las Vegas.[26]

As recent as the 1960’s, the price for an NHL expansion team was once $2,000,000.[27] The extremely expensive nature of professional sports teams, deemed by some as exorbitantly expensive, has long since been a polarizing topic for those with a vested interest.[28]  Regardless of the potential negative or positive effects of a major sports team’s monetary aspects, there are many factors that have gone into increasing the previously $2,000,000 fee to the $500,000,000 and above price that it is today. Alongside inflation, it’s natural for NHL officials and team owners to desire compensation from an expansion which drafts their “unprotected” players.[29] The $500,000,000 payed by William Foley out of his own pocket was split evenly among the NHL, in part, to serve such a role.[30] However, though $500,000,000 is by no means cheap, one factor to keep in mind is that compared to other potential expansions fees for other major leagues (such as the NBA which would hypothetically be $1,000,000,000 for an expansion team) it’s fair to say Las Vegas obtained the Golden Knights for a bargain.[31] William Foley and those who worked closely with him were the ones who brought the Golden Knights into existence, and much of the money that went into the Knights, even more besides the expansion fee, came from William Foley himself, rather than the city (use previous). To say that Vegas got off cheap compared to other cities is an understatement, especially given the Knights recent success.

On October 6, 2017, the Las Vegas Golden Knights played their first game against the Dallas Stars.[32] With the help of James Neal, who scored twice in the third period, and Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 45 saves total throughout the game, the Golden Knights won their first hockey match in a 2-1 victory.[33] From there, the Knights went on to break several records and exceed NHL precedents, even becoming the first team of the NHL in history to win 8 out of their first 9 games.[34] As of writing this, compared to other expansion teams which flounder in their early seasons, the Golden Knights have won an amazing total of 90 games, earning the not uncommon opinion that they are “the best NHL expansion team in 50 years.”[35]

By the time the Stanley Cup playoffs began in 2018 the Golden Knights, like no other NHL team in their inaugural season since 1958-67, were able to win their way to the position of Western Conference Champion, set to play against the Eastern Conference Champion, the Washington Capitals.[36] Though the Knights eventually lost 4 games to 1, the feat of making it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and their season long performance, still managed to leave an astounding impression on the world of hockey and other sports.[37] The Knights’ 2019 Stanley cup performance was admittedly less impressive than the year prior, with them ultimately losing their first match up against the San Jose Sharks, thus eliminating themselves from the running for the Stanley Cup early on, but the Golden Knights many prior victories and set precedents should not be so easily forgotten.[38] Considering other areas of the Knights’ recent success, it seems that a number of Golden Knights fans agree.

Alongside their many victories and examples of defying the odds, a measure of the Golden Knights worth can also be observed in their swarms of devoted fans. As of late, attendance at Golden Knights hockey games have been phenomenal, topping the 750,000 mark in overall attendance within the 2018-2019 regular season, even as ticket prices remain among the most expensive in the NHL.[39]  With about 18,485 fans per game at 105.05 seating capacity (as in, over capacity), fans have regularly gone above and beyond simply filling their team’s stadium, showing their support as they stand to watch the entire course of a match.[40]

As if that draw isn’t impressive enough, the Las Vegas Golden Knights merchandise has also been among the best selling in the National Hockey League.[41] Those who stock their stores with Golden Knights merchandise have said it’s not unusual to sell out of certain items almost immediately, especially when it comes to the fervently desired jerseys and caps, which, ironically, were at one time decried as ugly.[42]  On the web, bought from the online retailer Fanatics, the Golden Knights have been selling more merchandise than any other NHL team combined, even when competing against teams who outlasted them in the Stanley Cup playoffs.[43]  As of late, the Knights jerseys sell for around $100 to $200, $2,000 or more if the jersey is autographed.[44] Caps meanwhile, are often bought at $20 to $30, or more.[45]  The same devoted fans who admit to driving hours to see a game often confess, just as easily in the same breath, that they’ve spent 1,000s of dollars on Las Vegas Golden Knights paraphernalia.[46] Although their merchandise errs on the expensive end of the pricing spectrum when compared to other NHL teams, Golden Knights fans continue to buy Las Vegas Golden Knights merchandise with enthusiasm.

In true Las Vegas fashion though, fans aren’t stopping at buying simple pucks and foam fingers. Special edition posters, priced at $70.20 each, have been known to attract lines of people extending out and around the buildings of where they’re sold for hours at a time.[47] When a few jerseys belonging to Marc-Andre Fleury were turned into three baseball caps, the hats were soon after put on display in a shop at City National Arena, which the Golden Knights use as a practice rink (1Adone). The caps, priced at $3,000 each, sold within hours.[48] Such avid interest in the Golden Knights from fans shows, without any reasonable question of doubt, that a successful team can indeed be based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

When William Foley’s desire for bringing an NHL team to Las Vegas was made clear in December of 2014, the NHL was at first unsure of the reality of the situation.[49] After a certain amount of deliberation, a course of action was agreed upon (done). To better gauge the potential fan base and viability in Las Vegas, Foley conducted a season ticket drive, which the NHL publicly announced it had no objection against.[50] The result of the ticket drive was as unexpected as it was welcome; 14,000 ticket deposits sold, along with all of the available suites.[51] Such an occurrence was arguably the tipping point for giving Las Vegas its golden opportunity.

In the off 2015-2016 NHL season, bidding for the first NHL expansion team since 2000 became available.[52] Among other groups and cities, one ownership group in Las Vegas, Black Knight Sports & Entertainment, of which William Foley is the lead investor, put forth its single bid.[53] While many other cities of course desired a NHL team, such as places like Quebec and Seattle, the expansion team was in the end awarded to Las Vegas, Nevada (use previous). On June 22, 2016, before their name and logo had been ironed out, the Golden Knights were approved for their first season.[54] That same year George McPhee was hired as general manger, and the name, logo, and colors of the Golden Knights were officially announced.[55] In the time since then the team, and their potential for either success or failure, has been a topic of hot debate.

In addition to being a successful team that fans can be proud of, the Las Vegas Golden Knights have also helped bring extra publicity and excitement to Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. Located in Paradise, Nevada on the bustling strip, the T-Mobile Arena was built as a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and the Anschutz Entertainment Group.[56] It opened its doors for the first time on April 6, 2016, and, aside from the Knights, has seen frequent use from other entertainment events like concerts, music awards, and beauty pageants, as well as sporting events like UFC fights, professional boxing, mixed martial arts, and WWE professional wrestling.[57] It possesses up to 20,000 seats, 12,000-18,000 for various concerts, and it sits on 16 acres amidst an attractive and busy shopping, dining, and entertainment area known simply as The Park.[58]

The T-Mobile Arena itself, at first known as the Las Vegas Arena for want of an official name, was first imagined by AEG in 2007.[59] The original goal was to build a sports arena behind the Bally’s and Paris casino-hotels in a partnership with Harrah’s.[60] Though the project was announced that year, labour towards the stadium soon stalled amidst growing uncertainty on Harrah’s part, and eventually the ‘08 financial crises.[61]  Before even breaking ground as had been planned for in June of 2008, the project for the arena halted so thoroughly that by 2012 AEG backed out of the deal completely.[62] It wasn’t until March, 2013 that AEG announced a joint project to build an arena with MGM, who had also entertained plans to build a stadium prior to that.[63] However, though the arena itself was attractive enough to eventually have its naming rights bought by T-Mobile, the real nexus of the project was the aforementioned Park.[64] Today, built in the heart of the strip, The Park and its numerous restaurants, stores, and attractions work in tandem with the T-Mobile arena to turn a profit and satisfy visitors.[65] The Las Vegas Golden Knights, as tenants in the arena, raise their team economic value simply by playing their home games.[66]

Now more than ever, there is no doubt that the Las Vegas Golden Knights, as an all-around astounding team, have made unforgettable history in the world of sports. With all their success and fame, the Knights have achieved the once unthinkable, a successful professional team in Las Vegas.  For years, it was thought that such a goal was unattainable. Many have thought that Las Vegas did not have a large enough potential fan base, and that live sports, outside of heavily advertised professional fights, would not be able to compete with the myriad of Las Vegas’ surrounding entertainment (13).[67] Regardless, the Knights show just the opposite, and it is because of such accomplishment in their inaugural season and onward that sports in Las Vegas is now expanded much more beyond mere gambling. With the help of their supporters they’ve broken down barriers, instilled pride in the Las Vegas community, and have kickstarted the dawn of Las Vegas’ future existence as the world’s next great sports mecca.

  1. Las Vegas and the Raiders

On March 27th, 2017 it was decided that the Oakland Raiders football team would be relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada.[68] On a Monday NFL owners gathered at their annual league meeting in Phoenix, Arizona and, in a 31-1 vote, announced that the Raiders would be leaving, not just their home city of Oakland, but also California, the state they’ve played in throughout their entire existence.[69] Many fans of the Oakland Raiders found themselves asking a number of questions surrounding the move. Why are the Raiders moving? Why Las Vegas?

An important factor in the decision to move lies in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, a stadium that the Raiders have been trying to replace, renovate, or relocate from for years.[70] The Oakland-Alameda stadium opened in 1966 (six years after the Raiders were formed) and has been home to a number of teams ever since it was established.[71] The Raiders played some of their earliest games in the Oakland-Alameda stadium the same year it was built, and have also spent most of their existence there, sharing the stadium on and off with the Oakland A’s since 1968.[72] However, as time has passed, the Oakland-Alameda stadium has gone from being worthy and capable of hosting sports games to being rated as one of the worst stadiums in the NFL.[73]

For those familiar with stadiums for major league sports teams, the decrepit state of the Oakland arena isn’t new information. In a list from USA Today Sports which counted up to the worst Major League Baseball stadiums to the best, the Oakland Coliseum was rated 30 out of 30; not a glowing review by any means, and an opinion shared by many others.[74] For years, the Oakland Colosseum has been described as little else but a “crumbling,” “ancient,” and, “drab, concrete mass.”[75] Even earning itself the unofficial name of “The Mausoleum” denoting the low esteem from fans and players alike who, in polite terms, describe the stadium as unable to satisfy their needs.[76]

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was built in 1966, after a 4 year period of fund raising and construction, which had been delayed at times due to budget constraints and legal issues.[77] Despite the delays, during the time of its construction and years after, the Oakland arena was viewed, not as a burden on the city or tenants, but as a wonderful, blessed addition to Oakland’s landscape, and a base of operations for the previously stadium-deprived Raiders.[78] Brand new, and with a seating capacity of over 50,000, the Oakland Coliseum was heralded as a great stadium for sports lovers and a way for Oakland to better stand out among other west coast cities.[79] Even better for Oakland, the coliseum was privately financed by a non-profit corporation, formed specifically to build such a facility without relying on taxpayer-backed bonds, and transferred to the city’s ownership upon the coliseum’s completion.[80] Head of the non-profit corporation was Robert T. Nahas, a local real estate developer, alongside other prominent local business leaders, such as former US Senator William Knowland.[81]

For years after its completion, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was considered a more than serviceable stadium, and it provided a sense of stability and worth to the Oakland Raiders in a defining part of their history.[82] Despite that, the inevitable toll of time comes for everyone and everything, and the Oakland coliseum is no exception.

Among the inherent complications that come with a National Football League (NFL) team sharing a stadium with a Major League Baseball (MLB) team, such as differing needs for seating arrangements, and a field that must be configured for each sport, the coliseum, and those who are forced to play there, also suffer from frequent sewage flooding throughout the structure.[83] Most notably, sewage leaks from the ceiling, in offices, storage areas, kitchens, showers, and locker rooms; on occasion, the Oakland teams have even been forced to share a locker room with another team due to the extent of the foul odor and the flooding of raw sewage.[84] Such a problem is no isolated incident, and the flooding is not limited to game days when the restrooms see frequent use; a disgusting and debilitating occurrence to be sure.[85]

With all that compounded, fans have faulted the stadium for creating an “unsatisfactory” experience, citing the above issues as well as the perhaps well-meaning but fundamentally unsound goal of trying to accommodate a football and baseball team’s needs at the same time, with neither in the end being suitably provided for.[86] The seating arrangements do not always lend to an entertaining game, especially for baseball fans, and the (noticeably) lopsided field can potentially alter the result of a game, especially, once again, in the case of baseball, as the Oakland stadium has more foul ball territory than any other existing sports arena in the MLB.[87]

Such problems have so severely caused a decline in attendance at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum (a feat considering it already seats the least amount of fans in either professional football or baseball) that 11,000 seats in the stadium, as of writing this, are not even available for use.[88] Undesirable and empty, the section of seats (unofficially dubbed Mount Davis) currently sit beneath a large tarp, cutting the capacity down to 53,250 available seats for football, and 46,867 available seats for baseball.[89] Shockingly, such a large amount of seats are not off limits due to any safety concerns or true lack of ability, but instead because it’s such a struggle for the Raiders to meet the NFL’s “85% rule”.[90] If 85% of any stadium’s seating capacity cannot be filled for a game, that game, in turn, is not televised.[91] With television, of course, being any NFL team’s revenue lifeline, and their attendance regularly hovering so closely to 85% capacity, the football team felt compelled to lessen their stadium’s total seating capacity, all because the status of the Oakland arena practically prohibits a larger turnout.[92]

Solutions to such difficulties perhaps could have been found in either extensive renovations to the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, or, more along the Raiders goals, in building a new stadium entirely. However, the hefty price for either option was (and is) not an acceptable cost to the city of Oakland.[93] Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, was one of many strongly opposed to using city funds to finance a stadium, especially one with a proposed $900,000,000 price tag, which Oakland cannot feasibly afford.[94]

Mayor Schaaf’s stance was, of course, affected in no small part by the fact that Oakland and Alameda county are still struggling to pay off debt from the publicly funded Oakland Alameda County Coliseum renovations of 1995, which brought the Raiders back to the city after the team briefly left in 1982 to be based in the city of Los Angeles.[95] (Similarly, the Oakland Warriors were granted their own $140,000,000 renovation deal around the same time period, $68,000,000 of which still yet to be paid off by the city.[96] The price of the 1995 stadium renovations for the Raiders amounted to $200,000,000 in taxpayer backed bonds, which the city of Oakland had intended to pay off almost immediately by selling personal seat licenses.[97]  However, when the number of sold seats fell short of the necessary minimum, the interest eventually increased Oakland’s debt to a staggering $350,000,000.[98] For the city and its residents, the aforementioned price isn’t easily forgotten, and even now Oakland taxpayers will still have to pay nearly $13,000,000 a year, just towards the stadium, until 2025, even without taking into account the accumulated debt from the Oakland Warriors’ previous renovations as well.[99]

Regardless of Oakland’s grievances, the decrepit state of the coliseum remains an issue for the local sports teams and their fans alike. With the city understandably hesitant to expend further resources, it was only a matter of time before the Raiders began considering a change of venue.


Mark Davis, owner of the Raiders, initially aimed his efforts at moving the team back to Los Angeles.[100] Just like his father Al Davis during the 1980s, Mark Davis’ goal of moving the team from their decaying stadium was an uphill struggle.[101] Relocation in itself was highly contested, doubly so because of the Raiders specific intention to move to Los Angeles.[102] Even after putting forth his best efforts, Mark Davis, unlike his father, did not in the end relocate the Raiders despite all his troubles.[103] That honor instead went to the Chargers and Rams, two football teams that were similarly driven to relocate in the same time period.[104] To make matters worse, not long after losing the chance to base themselves in Los Angeles, the Alameda County board of supervisors tripled the Raiders’ rent for a run-down stadium the Raiders no longer wanted to call home as is.[105] Thus, left with a failing coliseum and a set of ever-mounting problems, Mark Davis was left with few options.

When Las Vegas proposed building a $1.9 billion stadium for the Raiders ($750 million of which being public funding derived from gambling taxes) the offer was like a heaven sent rescue.[106]  Not only was Las Vegas offering a new potential fan base and a bustling venue, but also exactly the expensive, state of the art stadium that the Raiders had been dreaming of for years.[107]

Plans for the Las Vegas Stadium were first heard of in January of 2016.[108] A Paradise, Nevada casino and resort company owned by Sheldon Adelson, named the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, was rumored to have interest in building a sports arena alongside Majestic Realty and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).[109] The location for the building site was originally on Tropicana Avenue on a 42 acre site owned by UNLV, but concerns raised by Southwest Airlines over the proximity to an airport runaway would eventually mean seeking a building site elsewhere.[110] After narrowing down the list of potential sites, construction on the domed stadium eventually began towards the end of 2017, all contained within a 62 acre lot west of Mandalay Bay and Interstate 15, known by some as the Russel Road site.[111]

However, said construction was only a possibility after truly securing funding for the venture, along with control over the stadium’s land, which in itself was a trial fraught with complications. Since at least the beginning of 2016, when Mark Davis met with a number of important Las Vegas locals, including Sheldon Adelson and Governor Brian Sandoval, the Raiders contemplated the option of relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada.[112] Not taking the decision lightly, it wasn’t until April 28th of 2016 when Mark Davis officially and publicly pledged $500,000,000 towards the cause of building a stadium suitable for an NFL team.[113]

Among those working with Davis to relocate the Raiders, Sheldon Adelson in particular was invaluable in their move, initially pledging $650,000,000 of his own wealth to the project even when the Las Vegas Sands board of directors rejected his proposal to finance.[114] Using his resources and know-how to further the Raiders goal, Adelson was key in getting legislation to consider certain proposals related to Las Vegas tourism, gambling, and the funding of the stadium.[115] In October of 2016, a bill was approved both by Nevada Legislation and the senate, allowing for an increased hotel tax within Clark County (the most populous county in Nevada, which Las Vegas is apart of) with $750,000,000 of that public money to be used for the funding of the stadium.[116]

However, while Adelson was indeed instrumental in bringing the raiders to Las Vegas, his involvement with the project was ultimately short lived; almost immediately after the Raiders filed their relocation papers on January 19, and a lease agreement for the stadium on January 26, Adelson withdrew his pledged $650,000,000.[117] It’s unclear at this time if Adelson continued in assisting the Raiders behind the scenes after he withdrew his previously volunteered funds, but regardless it wasn’t long before Goldman Sachs, another party meant to help finance the stadium, withdrew their funds as well.[118]

For months after such sudden events, the Raiders were in a difficult position. Public funding aside, the team was faced with producing $1.15 billion entirely on their own.[119] A significant number for anyone, the financial burden on one of the least wealthy teams in the NFL was one found particularly heavy. Fortunately for Mark Davis, the Raiders, and the very existence of football itself in Las Vegas, on March 6 it was announced that Bank of America would be stepping in to lend $650,000,000 to be used for the stadium; the exact amount necessary to cover what Adelson had initially pledged.[120] While the contribution was not without strings attached, nor did it cover the cost of the stadium project entirely, the $650,000,000 went a far way in alleviating pressure from the Raiders, and in securing the stadium.[121] Therefore, with a promised luxury stadium and a number of eager parties, the Raiders are now set to move to Las Vegas, Nevada.

While Oakland made attempts to keep their beloved football team, their last minute offer of a $1.3 billion dollar stadium wasn’t enough to keep the Raiders in place.[122] Though it was initially a project lead by all-American Hall of Famer, Ronnie Lott, and Fortress Investment Group, the plan eventually fell apart due to a number of issues. Mark Davis in particular felt the stadium plan was non-viable.[123]

Now with a divided and downtrodden fanbase, Davis had this to say,

“I have mixed feelings, obviously. I love Oakland. I know that there’s going to be disappointment and maybe some anger [. . .] I hope in the coming days to explain to them what went in to making this difficult decision.”[124]


Despite the Raiders’ move being finalized and them set to play in Las Vegas during the 2019-20 season, Oakland is not letting go of the issue just yet. As of December 2018, the City of Oakland filed a suit against the Raiders, claiming the league violated their antitrust agreement in allowing the team to relocate.[125] The result of said lawsuit remains to be seen, and the Raiders still plan to be based in Las Vegas.

However, while the Raiders are more than happy to relocate after so many years, there is still the question of where that leaves the City of Oakland and its remaining stadium debt. With the Raiders set to leave, and the Oakland Warriors set to become the San Francisco Warriors nearly as soon, the city of Oakland will be left with a mountain of debt, and with only a single professional sports team to show for it.[126]

As of 2018, it seems the Oakland Athletics (Oakland A’s), Oakland’s remaining sports team, may have a potential answer. After years of discussion and on-off negotiation since the early 2000’s, the Oakland A’s have announced their plan to pay off the debt on the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum in exchange for ownership of half of it.[127] The exact specifics have yet to be ironed out, but what remains clear is that the A’s proposed arrangement would relieve a long-standing burden from the city and county that the Raiders and Warriors have left behind, while also offering more control to the team over their own playing area.[128] Plans to utilize the Howard Terminal airport have also been discussed, but what’s most clear is the desire from both Oakland and the A’s to revitalize the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum by turning it into a nucleus of multipurpose entertainment.[129] All in all, such surprising ventures posit a welcome outcome, for the city of Oakland and local sports teams alike.[130]

Perhaps just as surprising though, is the apparent endorsement of the Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas from the NFL. Given that the NFL has historically not been in favor of a professional football team in Las Vegas, or in being at all associated with the city, almost unanimous support from the NFL is a significant turnaround.[131] In regards to gambling, the NFL has always prized a disassociation, going so far as to turn down advertisements, threaten lawsuits against hotels throwing Super Bowl parties, and prohibit NFL personnel from any involvement in legal gambling.[132] Regardless of the NFL’s historical stance and recent policies, it seems the league is finally willing to give Las Vegas a chance at its full potential in the world of sports.

Even with their legal issues, and questions over how they’ll play in the coming seasons, the Raiders’ relocation is off to a good start. Their new stadium in Las Vegas will be the best sports arena the Raiders have ever called home. Further, it is not hard to find evidence of support and anticipation from the Las Vegas and Nevada locals.[133] With the Super Bowl winning coach, John Gruden, behind them, and a team of players readying themselves for the inaugural season in Las Vegas, the future is looking bright for the Raiders.[134]

Considering the success of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and other professional sporting events in Las Vegas, the question now becomes how other professional teams might fare in the city, and if or when they might relocate or expand to Las Vegas. Could teams from leagues such as the Major League Baseball (MLB), the Men’s League of Soccer (MLS), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) be in store for Las Vegas’ future?

  1. Las Vegas and the NBA

When it comes to obtaining a professional NBA team, Las Vegas, Nevada is not lacking in ability. Already a capital of entertainment, Las Vegas is a wealthy and well known city able to place teams in new, innovative stadiums that sport team’s desire. Furthermore, any professional team that moves to the city will, by default, turn heads and find themselves making history. This coupled with the added bonus of citizens and potential fans who are receptive to the idea of local professional sports teams, and the entire concept seems near guaranteed for success. Among lists which rank cities most likely to receive an NBA team, Las Vegas is always considered one of, if not the, most likely candidates, especially when taking into account the recent success of the sports teams already based in the city.[135] Thus, whether an expansion team or an already existing one aiming to relocate, Las Vegas is an attractive venue.

In addition, Las Vegas may already be considered a basketball city given its new WNBA team, The Las Vegas Aces, and the fact that Las Vegas regularly hosts the NBA Summer League.[136]  Both factors establish that Las Vegas has an audience for professional basketball.

Las Vegas’ WNBA team (founded years ago as the Utah Starzz, then the San Antonio Silver Stars) was bought by MGM Resorts International and renamed the Vegas Aces before the start of the 2018 season.[137] Never before has a WNBA team played a single basketball game in Las Vegas, but, against all odds, they managed to win themselves a fairly successful inaugural season, even among various travel complications and threats of injury, ending with a 14-20 record, at 9th place in the league based on attendance.[138] Though it wasn’t a complete series of landslide victories, the current incarnation of the team has shown vast improvement compared to previous years as the Utah Starzz and the San Antionio Silver Stars.[139]

Even more than their performance purely as a basketball team though, the Aces have also gone a long way in contributing to the community; from the Lace Up mentorship program, which encourages girls to pursue constructive activities like basketball, to a foundation for dyslexic youth, to countless community projects meant to benefit Clark County as a whole, the Las Vegas Aces have quickly become a valuable asset to the local environment.[140]

Head coach Bill Laimbeer says he intends for the team, which will continue to base itself in Las Vegas for the forceable future, to be even more successful in future seasons.[141]  Players on the team, as well, frequently state the importance they find in being tangible, capable, role models for young women of the Clark County area.[142] Each facet of the Las Vegas Aces shows that Las Vegas and the surrounding area has an audience for basketball, and that NBA team would fit in nicely alongside the Las Vegas Aces and the other professional sport clubs already based in the area.

In addition, the success of the NBA Summer League, also known as the Las Vegas League, is yet further proof that basketball has vast potential to thrive in the city.[143] Case in point, the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League of 2019 is set to be one of the biggest turnouts yet.[144] Last year’s record attendance of 139,972 greatly increased the ticket prices for this year, and in addition to all 30 NBA teams playing there will also be national teams from China and Croatia in the mix, with five games guaranteed for each sports club. NBA commissioner Adam Silver once said it’s, “The next best thing,” besides a true NBA team.[145]

Since the year 2004 the Las Vegas Summer League has been the biggest off-season competition for the NBA, and the events status as such once more shows why Las Vegas deserves a NBA team.[146]

The matter of securing a suitable arena meanwhile, always a concern for any sports team or league, can be dealt with swiftly and easily by remembering the T-Mobile arena that is currently situated in Las Vegas. Designed to be versatile and high-end, the T-Mobile arena has been recognized for its positive traits, recently selected to host a 2019 FIBA game on Friday, August 9th at 7p.m.[147] The game, regardless of outcome, goes a long way in affirming the stadium’s capabilities. The mere fact that the T-Mobile arena was considered by FIBA shows Las Vegas’ capabilities.[148]

With that said, Las Vegas’s positive qualities do not equate to the city gaining an NBA team immediately. First and foremost there is the fact that two NBA teams, as recent as 2019, have already officially been awarded to Seattle, Washington and Kansas City, Kansas respectively.[149] Both cities, each with a long history of professional sports and basketball, have paid their dues through expensive stadiums and meeting the NBA’s requirements.[150] The two very recent teams, one for the east and west conference each, already serve to add new excitement and competition to the NBA while also balancing out the league’s numbers. Neither team has had the chance to play even a single game in their new home cities, which means, until further notice, the chances of another NBA team or two, for any city, seem slim.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently stated that, though Las Vegas is itself an attractive city, and though the widespread legal gambling there is less a deterrent than ever before, another NBA expansion team is not an immediate priority.[151] Likewise, no current team is seeking to relocate, to the city of Las Vegas, or otherwise.[152]  In total, the implication is that Las Vegas is set for a lengthy wait for an NBA team.

Despite the potential long wait though, there are currently few other obstacles between Las Vegas and a NBA team. Not even gambling, so long a persistent obstacle for the city, can any longer be considered a major deterrent against a professional sports team in the city.[153] The stigma of gambling, in today’s modern age of accessibility and information, has ceased to hold the sway it once did in years past.[154] With more people realizing such, there has been a significant amount of interest shown in establishing a Las Vegas NBA team, if not from the league itself, than from the devoted fans of professional basketball. With the shifting perception of legal gambling, and the many other benefits Las Vegas has to offer, an NBA team in Las Vegas is more than a distinct possibility.

Given the aforementioned success and proven potential for thriving professional sports teams, an NBA team is the next logical step in Las Vegas’ road to becoming the world’s next sports mecca. Though there’s no concrete news of an NBA team expansion or relocation, and though there are still many roadblocks to obtaining such a goal, Las Vegas doubtlessly possesses the necessary attributes to have its own NBA team. The positives of such are glaringly apparent and, in light of the recent successful relocations of professional sports franchises, one can confidently say that it is only a matter of time before Las Vegas has an NBA team of its very own.

  1. MLS in Las Vegas

Major League Soccer (MLS), one of the biggest professional sports leagues in the world, is seeking to expand its current bracket of teams from 24 to 30.[155] Like any other well regarded and recognizable sports league of North America, the MLS desires any candidate for an expansion team to be a respectable, well known, lucrative location. Las Vegas, Nevada, already considered a nexus of entertainment and an iconic city in its own right, is currently a candidate for hosting a MLS team.[156]

While there has not yet been an official announcement touting Las Vegas as a definite location, the Las Vegas City Council has recently had serious discussions over securing a MLS team, and further negotiations over securing a stadium of MLS caliber.[157] From what’s been made apparent at this point, the current plan for both goals is to redevelop the Cashman Center, a rather small stadium already inhabited by a United Soccer League (USL) team known as the Las Vegas Lights.[158] The center, once redeveloped, will most likely attract a team from the MLS, which already considers Las Vegas a promising candidate.[159]

Reception to the idea, both from citizens and involved parties alike, seems positive. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is especially eager to share her excitement for the project which has for so long been a promising goal.[160] Groups involved in the redevelopment of Cashman Center, such as Baupost Group and Renaissance Companies, are also eager for the project to be underway.[161]

The redevelopment of Cashman Center, built on a “federal opportunity zone,” is a project lauded by city officials as a way to improve the downtown area.[162] Construction and then later activity at the Cashman Center may create jobs, stimulate local economic growth, and create more opportunities for recreation, perhaps similar to the T-Mobile arena. A final design of the sports arena has not yet been made apparent, but common consensus points to 25,000 seats, the utilization of a 62 acre site, and an indoor stadium with ample shading from the sun, which would better provide fans and players alike the maximum level of comfort possible.[163]

Similar to most other sports leagues, the price for expansion has increased exponentially since the MLS was founded in 1993.[164] The league, initially with only ten separate sports clubs, increased their numbers swiftly in the years following establishment.[165] In 1998 Ken Horowitz paid an expansion fee of $20,000,000 for the Miami Fusion team.[166] Today, the most recent expansion fees are 10 times that amount at around $200,000,000.[167] The jump in price is a recent development from the last 10 years, no doubt influenced by MLS’s last few expansions, business ventures, and the fact that their teams have an estimated worth of near $200,000,000 alone.[168] Toronto FC, for example, paid an expansion fee of only $10,000,000 in 2007, with other expansion fees of the past being of similar size.[169]  Such small expansion fees made sense at that time, but today, despite most teams said to be floundering financially, MLS is still a valuable league many want to be apart of.[170]  The league is estimated to have steady, profitable growth for years to come, and other benefits brought about by a MLS team are not easily overlooked by potential investors and cities.[171] For one thing, soccer itself has become a vastly more recognized sport in North America in the past decade than it was previously, which means more opportunity for television and streaming deals, tickets, merchandise, and much more. Any city is now able to bet on a MLS expansion team packing a stadium with fans, and any owner of a MLS team can take comfort in their team’s $200,000,000 value either enduring or increasing over time.[172]

Furthermore, while each MLS expansion team on its own is considered worthwhile, MLS’ involvement in other areas of business may serve to entice potential investors even when yearly revenue and a team’s long term worth don’t. Unlike other professional sports leagues of North America, each soccer team of the MLS is owned by the league itself, with investor-operators controlling their own teams individually.[173] When a person weighs investing in a MLS team, they take into account, not just the sole worth of an individual sports club or the MLS, but also the league’s collective worth in relation to virtual extensions of the league, such as Soccer United Marketing, MLS’s exclusive marketing and media partner, which was valued in 2011 at $600,000,000.[174] The worth of Soccer United Marketing, and the value of other groups which are essentially apart of the MLS, increases the league’s overall worth as well.[175] Altogether, each previously mentioned factor gives MLS more reason than ever to value an expansion so highly.

As of now, it seems the largest obstacle between Las Vegas and a MLS expansion team is the competition with other hopeful cities. There are already 3 future MLS teams set to play in Austin, Texas, Miami, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee respectively within the next 3 years.[176] Sacramento, California and St.Louis, Missouri are also guaranteed teams of their own, each for $200,000,000.[177] The expansion price itself shouldn’t be a problem for a city like Las Vegas, especially with the help of private parties and recent legislation, but with only one more slot available, and other avidly competing cities besides that, the outcome does not appear guaranteed.[178]

Despite that though, Las Vegas is an appealing option for an expansion, a new, proper stadium would make Las Vegas an exemplary choice, just so long as the stadium deal is actually finalized, which in itself appears to be a top priority for the city.[179]


Even more than the stadium, Las Vegas is an attractive venue because it has already been proven to have an audience for soccer. The Las Vegas Lights, owned by Brett Lashbrook and coached by Eric Wynalda, are currently sixth best in the USL when it comes to attendance.[180] Their inaugural season was less than stellar; only 8 wins out of a total 34 games, with the rest being 19 losses and 7 draws, but even with their rocky start, fans still eagerly attended their games.[181] Mind you, an average of over 7,000 fans per game isn’t a record breaking number when compared to the MLS, which regularly has 20,000 people per game, only behind the NFL and MLB in terms of attendance, but it still sets precedent.[182] The Las Vegas Lights’ very existence further emphasizes the boom of professional sports teams in Las Vegas within the last few years, and the team is also a fantastic signifier for showing that Las Vegas, Nevada, a city of sports and recreation, has a fan base hungry for professional soccer, preferably on the level of MLS.

With those points made clear, the only remaining question is how events will unfold, and whether the MLS will give Las Vegas the 30th slot after all. Citizens are, as always, receptive to professional sports within the city and the potential benefits.[183]  Gambling meanwhile, has never been a particularly prominent foe of the MLS league, and thus there presents no conflict of certain values that either the city or the league might hold.[184]  Meaning, of course, that very few obstacles besides the obvious prohibit expansion. Las Vegas, Nevada is, truly, as welcoming as ever to professional sports teams.

  1. MLB teams as the most difficult to attract

Above all the other major professional sports leagues, a team from the MLB will no doubt be the most difficult for Las Vegas to attract. Las Vegas is an appealing city, but the MLB differs from other leagues in notable ways, and Las Vegas is, of course, not the only city desiring a professional baseball team.

In recent years, the MLB has made apparent an interest in expansion teams to round out their numbers and brackets.[185] With the success of the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights, Las Vegas has finally become a candidate for a team.[186] While that in itself is a step in the right direction, such a status is no guarantee for a MLB team in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is one of many places in and outside of the United States considered a candidate for such a privilege and, while Las Vegas is obviously an attractive city, competition and demand amongst cities is at an all time high, while the supply of potential expansions or team relocations is at a low. Additionally, despite being a profitable global entertainment capital, Las Vegas has two main weaknesses working against it.

The first issue is Las Vegas’ weather; an extreme dry heat over half the year, and a dry chill the rest.[187] For players and fans alike, spending time outside in such a climate can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, if not outright restrictive.[188] For those who might weigh the stakes of basing a team in Las Vegas, or any other city for that matter, the weather is an important factor, particularly for sports played outside.

The second hurdle for Las Vegas to overcome is the stigma of gambling.[189] Only recently has legal gambling become more acceptable amongst society.[190] Perhaps only behind the NFL, the MLB has its own history of staunchness when it comes to betting and anything related.[191] Past commissioners have maintained an avid dislike of such legal gambling and, although the current commissioner, Rob Manfred, has a less hostile view towards it, chances are that if the MLB does go for Las Vegas, they will still maintain their policies of not allowing personnel to gamble under any circumstances. While that may be a wise rule to maintain, it still brings to mind the MLB’s past stance on legal gambling in contrast to the city which condones it so readily.[192] In a possible future where Las Vegas has its own MLB team, the question remains on how such opposing stances would coexist.[193]

With that said, the debate of whether a MLB team will ever be based in Las Vegas is a valid and persisting area of curiosity; without a doubt, there are numerous roadblocks along the way to such a reality. Nevertheless, the potential success of an MLB team in Las Vegas cannot be ignored; Las Vegas, Nevada has all the elements to make a professional sports team prosper, and a team from the MLB would be no exception.

  1. Las Vegas as a Sports Mecca

In conclusion, Las Vegas, Nevada is a world renowned entertainment center well on its way to becoming an incredible sports mecca. It possesses a cocktail of traits that few cities will ever be able to replicate, and it is recognized as such by many around the globe. There may be obstacles along its path to gaining an even more impressive concentration of professional sports teams, but Las Vegas is not without the ability to clear those hurdles. With so much change in such a short time, with supporters and critics alike eager to see what’s next, only time will tell how Las Vegas’s new era of innovation and evolution will unfold, even as many Americans expect only good things in the arena of sports entertainment.


Sophia Antoinette Roselli is a writer currently interning for the principals and attorneys in all aspects of day-to-day operations of many charitable and humanitarian trusts and foundations, as well as a liaison between clients and references, including but not limited to Kleinberg & Lerner LLP, National Amusements, and Goldman Sachs. Currently she’s endeavoring to further her worldly and multidisciplinary education in the fields of tax law, estate law, real estate, insurance, finance, banking, and economics. Due diligence, composition, and diplomatic comportment are three of her particular strengths, as she has proven the ability to handle leadership roles, exemplified by her elected positions within the aforementioned groups.


[1] Regina Garcia Cano, “Largest Nevada Casinos Earn $1.6 Billion Dueing Fiscal Year,”, The Seattle Times, January 12th 2018,

[2] page 30. 2017 Las Vegas Visitor Profile Study. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority. 2017.

[3] Steve Ruddock, “Nevada Poker Revenue for 2018 Proves Less Is More For Number of Tables,” US Poker, February 4, 2019,

[4] Ronald Katz, “The Supreme Court Has Undone a Century of American Opposition to Sports Gambling,” the, The Nation, February 25, 2019,

[5] Rian Fish, “States, leagues and casinos hope to hit legal sports gambling home run,”, CNBC, May 23, 2018,

[6] LVCVA Research Center, “LVCVA Summary of Monthly Tourism Indicators for Las Vegas, NV,” LVCVA, February 15, 2019,

[7] “Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Las Vegas city, Nevada”. U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 9, 2012

[8] “Table 2. Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012”. 2012 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 2013. Archived from the original (CSV) on May 17, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2013

[9] GLS Reasearch, “2018 Las Vegas visitor profile study,”, Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority, 2018,

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] page 30. 2017 Las Vegas Visitor Profile Study. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority. 2017.

[13] Waldron, Travis. “The Oakland Raiders Are Moving To Las Vegas.” The Huffington Post. March 27, 2017.

[14] Shapiro, Sean. “Neal, Fleury help Golden Knights win first game, defeat Stars” NHL Enterprises, L.P. Retrieved October 6,2017,

[15] “MGM Resorts Selects ‘Las Vegas Aces’ As New Name For WNBA Franchise” (Press release). WNBA Enterprises, LLC. December 11,2017. Retrieved January 25,2018,

[16] Shapiro, Sean. “Neal, Fleury help Golden Knights win first game, defeat Stars” NHL Enterprises, L.P. Retrieved October 6,2017,

[17] Ronald Katz, “The Supreme Court Has Undone a Century of American Opposition to Sports Gambling,” the, The Nation, February 25, 2019,; Interbasket staff, “The history behind why Las Vegas doesn’t have a professional sports team,”, 2016,

[18] Mark Scott, “William P. Foley II1944–,”, Reference for Business,

[19] Scott Burnside, “Bill Foley has Stanley Cup dreams,”, ESPN, December 12, 2014,

[20] Id.

[21] Mark Scott, “William P. Foley II1944–,”, Reference for Business,

[22] Nicholas J. Cotsonika, “Golden Knights owner Foley eager, anxious with season approaching,”, NHL, August 17, 2017,

[23] Id.

[24] Id.

[25] Hemal Jhaveri, “Golden Knights fans share why their team means so much to Las Vegas,”, USA Today Sports, April 24, 2018,

[26] Steve Carp, “Cost of NHL Expansion Team Goes From $2 Million to $500 Million,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 22, 2016,

[27] Id.

[28] Elliot Brown, “Use of Taxpayer Money for Pro-Sports Arenas Draws Fresh Scrutiny,”, Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2015,

[29] NHL Staff, “NHL Expansion Draft protected list revealed,”, NHL, June 18, 2017,

[30] Id.

[31] Tom Ziller, “The NBA might really add new teams. Here’s what it would take,”, SB Nation, February 13, 2017,

[32] Alex Kirshner, “The Vegas Golden Knights Timeline, from inception to Stanley Cup final,”, SB Nation, May 27, 2018,

[33] Shapiro, Sean. “Neal, Fleury help Golden Knights win first game, defeat Stars” NHL Enterprises, L.P. Retrieved October 6,2017,

[34] Las Vegas Review-Journal, “10 notable dates in the Golden Knights’ inaugural season,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 9, 2018,

[35] David Shoalts, “How the Vegas Golden Knights became the best NHL expansion team in 50 years,”, The Globe and Mail, January 26, 2018,

[36] Dan Rosen, “Capitals win Stanley Cup, defeat Golden Knights in Game 5 of Final,”, NHL, June 7, 2018,

[37] “Table 2. Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012”. 2012 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 2013. Archived from the original (CSV) on May 17, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2013

[38] Las Vegas Review-Journal, “10 notable dates in the Golden Knights’ inaugural season,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 9, 2018,; Pete Blackburn, “2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Five reasons the Vegas Golden Knights were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks,”, CBS Sports, April 24 2019,

[39] Alan Snel, “Golden Knights’ Attendance for 2018-19 Smashes 750K Mark, Filling Arena to 105.5 Percent of Capacity,”, Las Vegas SportsBiz, April 4, 2019,

[40] Matt Jacob, “As good as the Golden Knights have been, they’re fans have been even better,”, Las Vegas Weekly, April 5, 2018,

[41] Ken Boehlke, “Vegas Golden Knights top NHL in jersey sales,”, SinBin, June 13, 2019,

[42] SBJ Daily Staff, “Fanatics Data Shows Golden Knights Top NHL Merch Sales,”, SBJ Daily, April 12, 2018,; Aaron Torres, “Vegas Golden Knights finally reveal their uniforms, and Twitter hated them,”, The Washington Post, June 21, 2017,

[43] Ken Boehlke, “Vegas Golden Knights top NHL in jersey sales,”, SinBin, June 13, 2019,

[44], “Vegas Golden Knights Fanatics Authentic 2018 Western Conference Champions Autographed Black Adidas Authentic Jersey with Multiple Signatures – Limited Edition of 200 [for $2,499.99],” NHL Shop,

[45], “Men’s Vegas Golden Knights American Needle Black NHL Blue Line Unstructured Adjustable Hat [for $23.99],” NHL Shop,

[46] Eli Segall, “Vegas Golden Knights merchandise top-selling for all US NHL teams,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 21, 2018,

[47] SBJ Daily Staff, “Fanatics Data Shows Golden Knights Top NHL Merch Sales,”, SBJ Daily, April 12, 2018,

[48] Steve Carp, “Golden Knights fans buy up commemorative posters, pucks,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 31, 2018,

[49] Steve Carp, “Bettman: NHL expansion committee meets, still ponders Las Vegas franchise,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 8, 2015,

[50] Canadian Press, “NHL allows Las Vegas to explore expansion interest,”, CBC Sports, December 8, 2014,; Alan Snel, “’s Inside Look At How Las Vegas Grew An NHL Team In The Desert,”, Las Vegas SportsBiz, May 27, 2018,

[51] Dan Rosen, “Las Vegas awarded NHL franchise,”, National Hockey League, June 22, 2016,

[52] Alan Muir, “NHL expansion: Steep fee, deadline narrows list of potential new teams,”, SI, July 7, 2015,

[53] Dan Rosen, “Las Vegas awarded NHL franchise,”, National Hockey League, June 22, 2016,

[54] Id.

[55] Id.

[56] Associated Press, “AEG, MGM to develop 20,000 seat Las Vegas Strip arena,”, The Denver Post, June 18, 2013,

[57] Hill, Adam (March 3, 2017). “UFC to be an anchor tenant at T-Mobile Arena”. Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved October 8, 2017; “PBR moves Built Ford Tough Series World Finals to new Las Vegas Arena in 2016”. Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 24 June 2016; “Pac-12 Tournament will move to larger Las Vegas arena in 2017”. Deseret News. Retrieved 24 June 2016.

[58] Associated Press,Vegas, baby? Arena envisioned to draw pro team to city,”, ESPN, August 22, 2007,;, “Arena Information-quick facts”

[59] Associated Press,Vegas, baby? Arena envisioned to draw pro team to city,”, ESPN, August 22, 2007,

[60] Id.

[61] Liz Benston, “Harrah’s still wants arena, but how much will it pay?”, Las Vegas Sun, September 27, 2008,

[62] Kevin Reichard, “Las Vegas foundation drops arena effort,”, Arena Digest, June 12, 2010,

[63] Sun Staff, “MGM Resorts announces plan for 20,000-seat arena,”, Las Vegas Sun, March 1, 2013,

[64] Jessica Janner, “MGM CEO excited about T-Mobile arena opening,”, ABC News, April 6, 2016,

[65] Wade Tyler Millward, “Golden Knights drive T-Mobile Arena’s success, executive says,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 10, 2018,

[66] Id.

[67] Interbasket staff, “The history behind why Las Vegas doesn’t have a professional sports team,”, 2016,

[68] Waldron, Travis. “The Oakland Raiders Are Moving To Las Vegas.” The Huffington Post. March 27, 2017.

[69] Pro Football Hall of Fame “Team History”, Pro Football Hall of Fame,

[70] NFL Staff, “Raiders relocation to Las Vegas: Timeline of events,”, NFL, March 27, 2017,

[71] “Ring-Central Coliseum,”, Ballparks of Baseball, 2001-2019,

[72] NFL Staff, “Raiders relocation to Las Vegas: Timeline of events,”, NFL, March 27, 2017,

[73] Scott Nordlund, “Offensive Yards: The Worst Stadiums in the NFL,” money, Money Wise, June 24, 2019,

[74] Andrew Joseph and Ted Berg, “all 30 MLB stadiums, ranked,”, USA Today Sports, August 3, 2016

[75] Ed Attanasio and Eric Gouldsberry, “Oakland Coliseum,”, This Great Game (The Online Book of Baseball),; Rachel Swan, “Football could be finished at Oakland Coliseum,”, San Francisco Chronicle, December 24, 2015,

[76] Rachel Swan, “Football could be finished at Oakland Coliseum,”, San Francisco Chronicle, December 24, 2015,

[77] Pro Football Hall of Fame “Team History”, Pro Football Hall of Fame,

[78] David Debolt, “Aging Oakland Coliseum full of memories for longtime fans,”, Mercury News, September 30, 2017,

[79] Id.

[80] Rick Delveccio, “Robert Nahas — He brought Coliseum and A’s to Oakland,”, SF Gate, February 26, 2002,

[81] Oakland Tribune, November 3, 1960, front page; Jim Pruitt and Kate DeWein, “Alamedq History: William Knowland,”, The Almaden, November 9, 2012,

[82] David Debolt, “Aging Oakland Coliseum full of memories for longtime fans,”, Mercury News, September 30, 2017,

[83] Dan Rosen, “Capitals win Stanley Cup, defeat Golden Knights in Game 5 of Final,”, NHL, June 7, 2018,

[84] Associated Press, “A’s, M’s forced into same locker room,”, ESPN, June 17, 2013,

[85] Id.

[86] Ed Attanasio and Eric Gouldsberry, “Oakland Coliseum,”, This Great Game (The Online Book of Baseball),

[87] Devan Fink, “Marco Estrada and Oakland are a match made in heaven,”, SB Nation, February 17, 2019,

[88] “Ring-Central Coliseum,”, Ballparks of Baseball, 2001-2019,

[89] Id.

[90] Chris Isidore, “NFL drops TV blackout rule,”, CNN Business, March 23, 2015,

[91] Id.

[92]  “Ring-Central Coliseum,”, Ballparks of Baseball, 2001-2019,; Chris Isidore, “NFL drops TV blackout rule,”, CNN Business, March 23, 2015,


[93] Austin Knoblauch, “Oakland mayor doesn’t support using tax dollars to keep Raiders,”, Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2015,

[94] Id.

[95] “Ring-Central Coliseum,”, Ballparks of Baseball, 2001-2019,

[96] Patrick Redford, “Oakland Taxpayers Will Still Be On The Hook For $163 Million After The Raiders And Warriors Leave,”, Deadspin, March 29, 2017,

[97] Id.


[98] Id.

[99] Id.

[100] Scott Blair, “Raiders denied LA relocation,”, NBC Sports, January 12, 2016,

[101] Elliot Almond, “Restless Raiders: Timeline of moves, flirtations from Kezar to Oakland to L.A. and back,”, Mercury News, March 26, 2017,

[102] Scott Blair, “Raiders denied LA relocation,”, NBC Sports, January 12, 2016,

[103] Scott Blair, “Raiders denied LA relocation,”, NBC Sports, January 12, 2016,

[104] Scott Blair, “Raiders denied LA relocation,”, NBC Sports, January 12, 2016,

[105] Associated Press, “Report: Raiders’ rent more than triples to stay in Coliseum,”, NBC Sports, 2016,

[106] Luis Gomez, “Is Raiders’ $750 Million Las Vegas Subsidy Peal Public Stadium Financing?”, The San Diego Union-Tribune, March 28, 2017,

[107] Id.

[108] Stutz, Howard (January 28, 2016). “Las Vegas Sands proposes $1B domed stadium; Adelson to meet with Raiders owner”. Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved March 27, 2017.

[109] Id.

[110] Id.

[111] Jackie Valley, “As Las Vegas’ NFL stadium marches toward reality, burning questions remain,”, Las Vegas Sun, September 7, 2017,

[112] Bradley, Bill (February 1, 2016). “Raiders owner Mark Davis says ‘brand would do well’ in Las Vegas”., Las Vegas Review-Journal,

[113] Associated Press, “Oakland Raiders owner willing to spend $500 million to move team to Vegas,”, Fox News, April 28, 2016,

[114] Richard N. Velotta, “Adelson commits personal wealth to back stadium plan,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 28, 2016,

[115] Megan Messerly and Jackie Valley, “Special session kicks off to consider NFL stadium funding,”, Las Vegas Sun, October 18, 2016,

[116] Hickey, John (November 16, 2016). “Tax increases designed to lure Raiders to Las Vegas go through”. San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved April 7, 2018

[117] ESPN, “Raiders boost Vegas commitment to $1.2 billion, operations, risk,”, ESPN, January 30, 2017,

[118] Id.

[119] Riley Snyder and Jackie Valley, “A $650 million secret: Why are the Raiders and Bank of America keeping loan details private?”, The Nevada Independent, April 16, 2017,

[120] Id.

[121] Id.

[122] “Oakland City Council unanimously approves proposed $1.3B Raiders stadium plan,”, NBC Sports, 2017,

[123] Id.

[124] Miles McPherson, “Owner takes responsibility for moving Raiders to Vegas,”, April 7, 2017,

[125] Laura Anthony and Anser Hassan, “Judge gives Oakland 45 days to amend lawsuit against NFL, Raiders over move to Las Vegas,”, ABC News, July 20, 2019,

[126] Devin Gordon, “The Warriors gamble their soul as they swap Oakland for San Francisco,”, The Guardian, April 8, 2019,

[127] Ted Anderson, “A’s strike key deal to buy half of Oakland Coliseum site as redevelopment plans take shape,”, San Francisco Business Times, April 22, 2019,

[128] Id.

[129] Id.

[130] Id.

[131] David Purdum and Ryan Rodenberg, “NFL’s evolving stance on sports betting and Las Vegas”, ESPN, May 14, 2018,

[132] Id.

[133] Paul Gutierrez, “A weekend in Vegas with the fans waiting on their Raiders,”, ESPN, December 19, 2018,

[134] Deiter Kurtenbach, “Kurtanbach: All jokes aside, Jon Gruden’s Raiders’ offense is worth your optimism,”, Mercury News, August 15, 2019,

[135] Andrew Joseph, “Ranking the 8 best cities for NBA expansion,”, USA Today Sports, October 4, 2018,

[136] “MGM Resorts Selects ‘Las Vegas Aces’ As New Name For WNBA Franchise” (Press release). WNBA Enterprises, LLC. December 11,2017. Retrieved January 25,2018,;

[137] “MGM Resorts Selects ‘Las Vegas Aces’ As New Name For WNBA Franchise” (Press release). WNBA Enterprises, LLC. December 11,2017. Retrieved January 25,2018,

[138] Mechelle Voepel, “Las Vegas Aces right at home in the desert,”, ESPN, June 19, 2019,; Ed Graney, “Aces still carving out Las Vegas niche as 2nd season arrives,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 14, 2019,; Sam Gordon, “5 things to watch as Las Vegas Aces start WNBA season,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 24, 2019,

[139] Mechelle Voepel, “Las Vegas Aces right at home in the desert,”, ESPN, June 19, 2019,

[140] Ed Graney, “Aces still carving out Las Vegas niche as 2nd season arrives,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 14, 2019,

[141] Sam Gordon, “Aces’ Bill Laimbeer focuses on coaching team this year,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 18, 2019,

[142] Ed Graney, “Aces still carving out Las Vegas niche as 2nd season arrives,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 14, 2019,

[143] Jared Zwerling, “Vegas Baby, Vegas: How Warren LeGarie Made Sin City NBA’s Summer League Hot Spot,”, Bleacher Report, July 16, 2014,

[144] Tim Reynolds, From Zion to Jimmer, NBA Summer League is a bit of everything,”, The Associated Press, June 30, 2019,

[145] Mark Anderson, “NBA expansion, relocation not being considered, Adam Silver says,”, Las Vegas Review Journal, July 3, 2019,

[146] Jared Zwerling, “Vegas Baby, Vegas: How Warren LeGarie Made Sin City NBA’s Summer League Hot Spot,”, Bleacher Report, July 16, 2014,

[147] “USA Basketball announced two domestic exhibition games leading into the 2019 FIBA World Cup for Men. The USA Men’s National Team will hold a Blue-White intrasquad exhibition game at T-Mobile Arena on Friday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. (and will play international rival Spain on Friday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.”,

[148] Id.

[149] Tyler Wicke, “City of Seattle announces NBA expansion franchise,”, The Tacoma Ledger, April 1, 2019,

[150] Tyler Wicke, “City of Seattle announces NBA expansion franchise,”, The Tacoma Ledger, April 1, 2019,; Adam Wells, “NBA Executive Reportedly Says League Will Eventually Have Team in Kansas City,”, Bleacher Report, May 18, 2018,

[151] Mark Anderson, “NBA expansion, relocation not being considered, Adam Silver says,”, Las Vegas Review Journal, July 3, 2019,

[152] Id.

[153] David Purdum, “I’m not pro sports gambling. I’m just a realist,”, ESPN, November 30, 2017,

[154] Id.

[155] Associated Press, “M.L.S. Announces Plans to Expand to 30 Teams,”, The New York Times, April 19, 2019,

[156] Bill Bradley, “Las Vegas’ chances slim for MLS’ 30th team, source says,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 19, 2019,

[157] Matthew Seeman and Max Darrow, “Las Vegas City Council to explore building MLS stadium at Cashman Field,”, News 3 LV, May 29, 2019,

[158] Jeff Carlisle, “Las Vegas’ MLS plan includes indoor stadium,”, ESPN, May 31, 2019,

[159] Id.

[160] Ben Gotz, “5 things to know as Las Vegas pursues MLS expansion team,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 17, 2019,

[161] Jeff Carlisle, “Las Vegas’ MLS plan includes indoor stadium,”, ESPN, May 31, 2019,

[162] Ed Komenda, “Major League Soccer in Vegas? City is betting on new stadium to lure franchise,”, Reno Gazette Journal, June 6, 2019,

[163] Alen Snel, “Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Stadium and Mile-Long Corridor Redevelopment Plan Includes Concussion Research Center, Esports Facility,”, Las Vegas Sports Biz, June 4, 2019,

[164] Elliot Turner, “Why MLS is completely justified in charging a $200 million expansion fee,”, SB Nation, August 9, 2016,

[165] Sam Stejskal, “A look back at the history of MLS expansion,”, MLS, February 28, 2017,

[166] Drew Crossley, 1998-2001 Miami Fusion,”, Fun While It Lasted, March 4, 2017,

[167] Elliot Turner, “Why MLS is completely justified in charging a $200 million expansion fee,”, SB Nation, August 9, 2016,

[168] Id.

[169] Id.

[170] Ives Galarcep, “MLS expansion: Ranking the remaining potential markets,”, Goal, 2019,; Jeff Haden, “Don’t Look Now, but Major League Soccer May Be the Best Story in American Sports (and Sports Business)”, Inc. , August 8, 2018,

[171] Jeff Haden, “Don’t Look Now, but Major League Soccer May Be the Best Story in American Sports (and Sports Business)”, Inc. , August 8, 2018,

[172] Id.

[173] Fraser v. Major League Soccer, 01 F.3d 1296 (US 1st Cir. March 20, 2002) (“MLS owns all of the teams that play in the league (a total of 12 prior to the start of 2002), as well as all intellectual property rights, tickets, supplied equipment, and broadcast rights. … However, MLS has also relinquished some control over team operations to certain investors. MLS contracts with these investors to operate…the league’s teams”).

[174] Elliot Turner, “Why MLS is completely justified in charging a $200 million expansion fee,”, SB Nation, August 9, 2016,

[175] Id.

[176] MLS Soccer Staff, “MLS announces plans to expand to 30 teams,”, MLS Soccer, April 18, 2019,

[177] Elliot Turner, “Why MLS is completely justified in charging a $200 million expansion fee,”, SB Nation, August 9, 2016,

[178] Bill Bradley, “Las Vegas’ chances slim for MLS’ 30th team, source says,”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 19, 2019,

[179] Elaine Emerson, “Las Vegas City Council to move forward with MLS stadium negotiations,”, Las Vegas Fox 5, June 5, 2019,

[180] Soccer Stadium Digest, “2018 USL Attendance,” October 14, 2018,

[181] Id.

[182] Soccer Stadium Digest, “2018 MLS Attendance,”, Populous, October 28, 2018,

[183] Justin Emerson, “Las Vegas has the ‘ingredients necessary to support an MLS team’”, Las Vegas Sun, June 10, 2019,

[184] Noah Davis, “Don Garber: MLS ready to embrace legalized sports gambling,”, ESPN, March 3, 2019,

[185] Chris Mitchel, “MLB Needs to Expand; Here’s Where,”, The Hardball Times,

[186] Max Rieper, “If MLB expands, which city should be next?”, SB Nation Royals Review, June 21, 2019,

[187] U.S. Climate Data,, 2019,

[188] Jeremy Dang, “Weather and winning: how climates can affect sports games,”, The Aggie, May 7, 2018,

[189] “History of Gambling in the United States”. Gambling in California. California State Library. March 1997. Archived from the original on 2009-10-08.

[190] Ronald Katz, “The Supreme Court Has Undone a Century of American Opposition to Sports Gambling,” the, The Nation, February 25, 2019,

[191] Thomas Barrabi, “MLB’s Manfred on Las Vegas: ‘We’re Past the Stigma,’”, Fox Business, March 28, 2017,

[192] Id.

[193] Brian Raftery, “Gambling Prompts Major League Baseball to Change Lineup Rules,”, Fortune, March 7, 2019,; Jerry Crasnick, “What does legalized sports gambling mean for baseball?”, ESPN, May 23, 2018,