November 2017 – Seemingly overnight, Las Vegas has become a destination for professional sports. While exhibition and pre-season games have been played in Las Vegas in numerous venues by professional and international teams, Las Vegas has lacked its very own professional teams – until recently. True, Triple A baseball has been in the valley for a few decades and even an international hockey league team started in the early 90’s, playing through 1999 before being dissolved. As a matter of fact, the valleys triple A baseball team, the Las Vegas 51’s, will be soon playing at a new baseball field that is to be built in Summerlin, showing the expected long term commitment to the valley and support for the sport.
Numerous factors affected the success and draw of professional teams to the Las Vegas valley. However, in recent years, more attention has been placed on Las Vegas as a professional sports team city. The support has increased significantly and money put into attracting teams has grown.
It started with the NHL and forming a new expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, now in the midst of their very first season, playing at the new T Mobile Arena. Shortly thereafter, the Oakland Raiders expressed interest to move to Las Vegas. After much debate and approval for a state of the art NFL stadium, the Raiders were granted the move and expected to begin play in Las Vegas in 2020, after the completion of their 2 billion dollar stadium. Both the NHL and NFL being in Las Vegas has dominated the news. In the course of the last year, additional sports teams are coming to Las Vegas. A new soccer team, known as the Las Vegas Lights FC, which will be part of the United Soccer League, will be unveiling a new expansion team in 2018 and playing at Cashman Field. Finally, the WNBA announced recently that the San Antonio Stars will be relocating to Las Vegas, beginning play in the 2018 season at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
All of these developments recently signify the high interest in having professional sports as a major attraction in Las Vegas. With these developments, many have begun to wonder what other professional sports teams may be considering relocation or what expansion teams may be formed in the future.