Las Vegas is rumored to be at the top of the list for a major hockey franchise possibly owned by Hollywood Mogul Jerry Bruckheimer. It will be he first major professional sports franchise in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Wranglers are a professional hockey team in the East Coast Hockey league which is the AA affiliate of the National Hockey League. The Wranglers used to call Orleans Arena their home ice until the Boyd Gaming company refused to renew their lease. The ECHL averaged almost 5k fans per game in 2013-2014 season and Las Vegas could definitely fill the 20-22k seat capacity of a professional hockey franchise if It was located near the Las Vegas Strip.
Why Vegas hasn’t had a major professional sports franchise?
Las Vegas has never had a major professional sports franchise because of antiquated rule that said that sports gambling and professional sports had no business marrying. The NFL has issued such drastic measures that they refuse to sell advertising promoting Las Vegas tourism during the Super Bowl and has threatened legal action on any hotels holding Super Bowl parties which has been nothing but a veiled threat with plenty of bark but no bite. Numerous obstacles among them, the proper location for a major event and the fact that any event would have to compete with the many other attractions and shows Las Vegas has to offer it’s visitors have all been the main reasons why a franchise has not been placed in Las Vegas
Bet on Las Vegas
Las Vegas has been a proven winner in the entertainment and sports industry. Basketball by UNLV, Professional Boxing and The UFC have all given us enough comparisons to see that a major sport will have no issue in Las Vegas getting their share of the entertainment dollar and attention of the local population as well as the tourists. Some sports are more suited for Las Vegas than others. Baseball could never work because of the sun unless it was an enclosed indoor stadium. Football will be ideal but it would be a gamble that the NFL could sell out 60k seats every Sunday and sell Personal Seat Licenses. Basketball and Hockey are the sports that would have the easiest time creating sell outs and the average arena in both sports holds at capacity a maximum of 22k fans and as little as 15k in the smaller venues.
Who wants to put a team in Las Vegas?
Jerry Bruckheimer has been a longtime fan of the NHL and has deep enough pockets to absorb the initial cost of buying a team or relocating an existing one. The question remains, where in Las Vegas will they play and will it be an expansion team or a new team that rules the Las Vegas Strip. What I would find interesting would be the “away” team record playing in “Sin City” with all the inherent distractions.
When and Where?
The team probably wouldn’t arrive until the earliest the 2016 season and most likely the 2017 season but ground has been broken on the MGM Grand property which would give it an ideal location and an experienced promoter of world class concerts and sporting events.
Source: The Hockey News , Kukla’s Corner, Fox 5 Vegas
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