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HOME > NEWS > Featured Articles > Top 10 reasons Las Vegas should have a professional sports franchise

Top 10 reasons Las Vegas should have a professional sports franchise

4 March 2016

By Eric Maupin

Sports fans who live in Las Vegas have been dying to have a professional sports franchise come to "Sin City." The people who make Southern Nevada their home are die-hard NHL and NBA fans but have no professional team yet to call their own.

The $375 million T-Mobile Arena, which is scheduled to open in early April, could be an epic venue for these sports. And if you've ever sat at the Thomas and Mack Center and watched the UNLV Rebels play a home game, you understand the electrifying atmosphere a professional sports team with spectacular talent would provide.

Las Vegas residents lack a sense of identity. When I tell people that I live here and am not on vacation, it seems to surprise many people. With sports gambling becoming more acceptable, the reasons for not having a team are diminishing.

Here are 10 reasons it's time to bring professional sports to the entertainment capital of the world.

10. Las Vegas is becoming a large metropolitan area
When we think of major league teams, we think of major cities. Cities like Las Vegas have been waiting for a professional team for decades, but the process needs to move along faster — much faster. Las Vegas is an island of light in the middle of the desert. No other professional team is within a reasonable distance — Los Angeles is the closest city with a professional sports franchise, and it's a four-hour drive to get there. People who make Sin City home need something of their own, and the city needs to establish a new revenue source apart from gaming. The Las Vegas Valley is rapidly expanding, and the only barrier between residents of Henderson and Las Vegas is an airport that flies directly into the middle of the city. The suburbs on their own are larger than many cities that own a pro sports team. Buffalo and Green Bay each have fewer residents than Henderson, Nevada. Clark County is now home to 2 million people who deserve entertainment outside of casino walls.

The new T-Mobile Arena opens on the Las Vegas Strip in April and would provide the perfect venue for a professional sports team.

The new T-Mobile Arena opens on the Las Vegas Strip in April and would provide the perfect venue for a professional sports team.

9. New sources of income and jobs
As Nevada residents, we rely heavily on travelers from around the world to put food on our plates. People like to come here to enjoy our pools, watch our shows and play at our casinos, but unfortunately our economy doesn't have many other resources or products to export to bring money in. We need as many entertainment options as possible to keep a steady flow of tourists coming and to give our residents other job opportunities. A variety of income will lead to greater economic stability. We can always count on people wanting to come to sporting events, and the construction of T-Mobile Arena has already created much-needed jobs and job diversity.

8. If you build it, they will come
Built between the New York, New York Hotel and Casino and the I-15 Freeway, T-Mobile Arena is already becoming a notable site in the Las Vegas skyline. The potential for this arena is endless. It's built on prime real estate in the heart of a city that professional athletes will be dying to make their home. There is no doubt in my mind that whatever professional team decides to play here will sell out tickets every night. If any city knows how to build something that can attract hordes of people, it's Las Vegas.

7. Some cities have too many teams
Las Vegas residents look on in envy of other cities that have three or more pro teams — some have two for the same sport! Las Vegas is a city known around the world for its flashy, star-studded entertainment. Milwaukee has two pro sports teams, and in less than two hours you can drive to Lambeau Field and watch Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers play. I'm sure Milwaukee is a great place, but its population is about the same as Las Vegas' and it has two teams, while we have none. Yes, it's true that people in Milwaukee don't have the same have fancy casinos and nightclubs that we have, but not all Las Vegas residents have the money to take part in the festivities on the Strip. Meanwhile, places like L.A., New York and Chicago basically rub it in our face that we don't have a team by having two for the same sport in their city, then multiple sports on top of that!

6. We love the UNLV Rebels, but the skill level just isn't the same
The UNLV men's basketball team made some noise by winning the NCAA championship over Duke in 1990, but let's face it: That was decades ago, and they haven't done so well in recent NCAA tournaments. Anthony Bennett was an absolute stud to watch live in person, but he's turned out to be a complete bust as the #1 pick overall by the Cavaliers. In fact, he was waived by the Toronto Raptors earlier this week. His power was unmatched, but he was lethargic at best in college; honestly, it was disappointing to watch him play in the NBA, and he was the best player to come out of UNLV in the past five years. Once again, a team from San Diego (which already has two pro sports teams) is dominating the Mountain West Conference. And let's not even talk about our pathetic football team. Sports are clearly not playing a crucial role in the lives of Las Vegas residents due to the low level of play and excitement. This could result in the youth of the city not having respectable athletic role models.

5. Is sports betting really a good reason to not have a franchise?
Many believe that sports betting — which is legal in Nevada — is the reason no professional sports team has made Las Vegas home. The hypocrisy is unbearable! If leagues are truly concerned about their stance on gambling, why do you continue seeing ads for FanDuel virtually everywhere in the stadiums where they play? Watch a game at Staples Center in Los Angeles and you'll notice large FanDuel ads right under the feet of the players on the sideline. This daily fantasy sports site is still very much in a gray area of legality, and the leagues should be consistent in their stance on sports betting.

The truth is, they know that gambling makes the game much more interesting to watch. Of course, placing wagers on boxing and UFC matches inside casinos is OK. So who is making the rule that professionals who would risk losing their careers for point-shaving would become corrupt? If anything, a fighting match would be the easiest thing to rig; you only need one person to take a fall. Wagers can already be placed online and on cell phones outside Nevada with offshore accounts. If people want to gamble, they'll find a way. This "reason" for not having a sports team is completely hypocritical.

4. "Players can't control themselves" is disrespectful
If I were a professional athlete, I would be outright offended by this notion. Yes, they are young with a lot of money; they do get in trouble occasionally; and Las Vegas is full of temptations. But they should be treated like adults, not like teenagers who shouldn't be trusted. They are fully aware of the consequences of their behavior, and the owners need to have confidence in players who made it to the top in the first place by displaying self-control and personal responsibility for their actions. Professional athletes can throw parties wherever they go. Yes, we have some of the best places to party in the world. But Miami is also a great place to party, and they have four professional sports teams. They can even make a quick drive to the Seminole Casino and gamble away their paychecks. The casino industry is expanding, and places to drink are virtually everywhere.

The fact that there is sportsbetting in Las Vegas, shown here at Wynn Las Vegas, should no longer be used as an argument not to bring a professional sports franchise to the city.

The fact that there is sportsbetting in Las Vegas, shown here at Wynn Las Vegas, should no longer be used as an argument not to bring a professional sports franchise to the city.

3. The entertainment capital of the world is missing just one big thing
Imagine the excitement, the thrill and the anticipation of two big rival teams taking each other on in a huge game in the playoffs in a city with flashy lights, skyscrapers and international tourists who are gathering around to get a glimpse of greatness. The game is presented on national television for the entire country to watch as it's taking place in the new, spacious T-Mobile Arena. Lines at the door wrap around the stadium. History is once again being made in Las Vegas — attendance is through the roof, and this is all happening in the entertainment capital of the world. Maybe the idea of having a pro sports team and gambling seems like too much for one city. But these two industries can aid each other. People who want to watch a game will make bets and get pulled into the casinos. But forget about the tourists: There are people who live here who need new forms of entertainment and a new sense of identity.

2. Hometowns need home teams
Living in Las Vegas isn't always an easy thing to do. Human beings weren't really meant to live in the desert. The weather is inhospitable; the hotel rooms were meant for tourists, not residents; Lake Mead is slowly diminishing; and we have to deal with high prices if we want to do what the tourists do for entertainment. The city of Las Vegas needs a sense of identity — something for us to brag about. A sense of pride as a home team will bring our city together. It's not just a place to come for vacation and get out of town. What happens here doesn't stay here — unless, of course, you live here. Our city mostly comprises people who are temporarily living here or who have recently relocated, and who consider their home to be somewhere else. Let's start making Las Vegas a hometown by bringing in a home team for good.

1. We've waited too long. The time now!
We don't need to wait any longer. We finally have a great arena that would work perfectly for a basketball or hockey team.

Las Vegas has always been a basketball town. The Orleans is hosting the West Coast Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships this week and has hosted the Clippers' training camp and preseason games in the past.

The Clippers would make an excellent fit for our city. Their colors are already similar to our Running Rebels. Their flashy style of play will sell out seats in no time, and their California roots will be extremely popular among the large number of transplanted Southern Californians who make Sin City home.

After many failed attempts, I believe our persistence will pay off and a professional sports franchise will finally make Las Vegas home, making the city the true capital of entertainment — even for the locals.

Eric Maupin
Eric has lived in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas for 12 years. He recently graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with degree in liberal arts. As a freelance writer, he has written many articles about Las Vegas nightlife, restaurants, hotels, museums and gambling strategies.

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