Las Vegas has gone from Sin City to Sports City. Once off-limits to major sporting events, Las Vegas has become the hub of the sports world.
Basically, if you need your sporting event to be seen as being massive then bring it to the Las Vegas Strip, or at least adjacent to that famous stretch of road, and the eyes of the world will be on you.
Everything changed for Las Vegas when the U.S,. Supreme Court made legalizing sports betting a state-by-state issue.
That allowed more states to add sports betting and instead of making Vegas less unique, it actually helped make sports betting more mainstream.
Something that once was widely done but not legal was brought out into the light and that has given Vegas a new sheen of respectability.
This has brought the Las Vegas Golden Knights, an NHL expansion team, to the city, where they have regularly played to sold out crowds.
It now also seems likely — though not completely done — that the Oakland Athletics may someday (soon) call The Strip home.
And, in addition to T-Mobile Arena where the Golden Knights play, two other NBA-quality arena projects are currently in the works.
Las Vegas will also be hosting a Formula 1 race in 2023, just served as home for the NFL Draft, and will host an upcoming Super Bowl.
The biggest thing that has hit the city — the NFL's formerly Oakland, now Las Vegas Raiders — has been the crown jewel of the city's sports scene and new data suggests the team has been an even bigger economic driver than expected.
Raiders Drive Traffic to MGM, Caesars, Strip
While the Golden Knights play 41 home games, hockey simply isn't the draw football is.
Every Las Vegas Raiders home game drives traffic to the strip casinos operated by Caesars Entertainment CZR, MGM Resorts International (MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International Report, Wynn Resorts (WYNN) - Get Wynn Resorts Limited Report, and other operators.
Because there are only 17 NFL games for each season, every game is a massive event.
Raiders fans travel from Oakland and fans of the opposing team also travel because visiting Las Vegas is a destination.
That has driven up the value of Raiders tickets on the secondary market, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
"The average Raiders home game ticket at Allegiant Stadium on the secondary market is $595," according to data from ticket technology company Logitix.
"The Raiders are followed by the Miami Dolphins ($387), Los Angeles Chargers ($361), L.A. Rams ($359) and Kansas City Chiefs ($354),"
High demand in secondary markets, i.e. tickets being resold, shows that tourists will pay a premium price to see a game in Las Vegas.
Sports Becomes a Las Vegas Calling Card
MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle made it clear during his company's first-quarter earnings call that he sees sports as a revenue/customer driver for the whole Strip.
"This past weekend, we also hosted the NFL Draft, which activated the entire Las Vegas Strip," he said.
"We also have big sporting events coming with the NCAA Men's Basketball Regionals on tap for March of next year, along with the first-of-a-kind Formula 1 Race in the Las Vegas Strip in November of 2023. And, of course, we will host the Super Bowl in February of 2024."
Hornbuckle sounded legitimately excited about the impact of sporting events on the city's recovery.
"All of these big events show the incredible progress the City has made as an entertainment and sports destination," he added.
The CEO said he sees the momentum getting stronger as the city becomes even more of a sports hub.
"Now in sports, with all the things I mentioned earlier, Formula 1 of note coming forward, every weekend that we had a game or an event down in the South and was a teens-digit growth norm for those properties," he said.
"And so that's all inherently built into our future now, and so we're very excited by that as well and what's happening in Las Vegas,"