Is Las Vegas the Next Big Sports Town?
A lot of people see Las Vegas, Nev., as being nothing more than a gambling town built on gambling money. But in reality, Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing markets in the country.
Can you say, Las Vegas Raiders?
No, I'm not saying the Raiders are definitely going to move to Las Vegas. I'm not saying the Raiders are moving anywhere, but this city could really use some major league sports.
Sin City makes a lot of money every year on sports betting, which is one reason that many major sports leagues have been reticent to take a franchise there.
There is, after all, a lot of bad media stigma to do with Las Vegas and most leagues aren't crazy about the idea of being associated with, well, Sin City.
Some teams that are in a position to make a (potentially lucrative) move to Las Vegas are:
1. Oakland Raiders/San Francisco 49ers
The cross town rivals are sharing a similar problem; their respective cities aren't wanting to shell out for a new stadium.
If Oakland gets a new stadium, then San Francisco will be under pressure to match it in size and quality.
Likewise, if San Fran gets new digs, Oakland will be under pressure to match.
Keeping up with the Joneses is hard when it costs millions of dollars.
Either team would benefit from a move to Vegas, but I lean more towards the Raiders on this one because Al Davis has moved the team before, several times, and I can see him jumping on Las Vegas like he jumps on those flashy draft picks.
2. Denver Nuggets
Denver is the smallest of all of the "four sport cities," boasting professional baseball, basketball, football and hockey teams.
The city, although currently able to support all four teams, is starting to feel the strain of the financial crisis. Attendance at Nuggets game has been declining for a while now, and ownership is under pressure.
And hey, doesn't the name "Las Vegas Nuggets" just have a marvelous ring to it?
3. Minnesota Vikings
There has been a lot of speculation as to whether the city of St. Paul is going to invest in a new stadium for its beloved Vikes, and lots of rumors flying around about a possible move to Los Angeles.
The Vikings are actively trying to work with the city for a new stadium, so if they can get one, they'll stay in Minnesota.
If not, we may have some competition between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I personally think Las Vegas Vikings has a better ring to it than Los Angeles Vikings. But that's just me.
4. Colorado Rockies
The Rockies are another one of Denver's many professional sports teams, and they too have suffered weak attendance of late.
The Rockies have no real incentive to move right now, so they'd need a pretty big offer to get them to sniff around.
If an MLB team makes a move to Vegas, it'd probably be the Rockies.
No matter what ends up happening, don't expect Vegas to keep on being a sport-free town for long.
Vegas is like a pinata, waiting to be smashed open so all the little children can get the candy.
Or in this case, all the old men in suits can collect the wads of cash.
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