While some would believe that Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the world, the city that truly never sleeps — sorry, New York — isn’t exactly considered in the same vein when it comes to its sports offerings.
That, however, is an old narrative. Things are starting to change — and fast.
No longer content being just the Entertainment Capital, Las Vegas now has its sights on the world of sport. And in true Vegas fashion, they aren’t doing it quietly.
The Ultimate Las Vegas Sports Weekend
In March 2018, Las Vegas played host to NASCAR, USA Sevens Rugby, NHL and UFC in a single long weekend. In fact, both ice hockey and UFC are permanent fixtures in the desert, taking residence in the state-of-the-art T-Mobile arena. The UFC Performance Institute, a cutting edge $14m, 30,000 square foot facility, and home to almost every professional MMA fighter on the roster, is also housed in the city, on the outskirts of the Las Vegas strip.
For four days, thousands of dedicated fans from all over the world get to see their teams in action, as well as experience what Las Vegas has to offer away from the sports field. And as you can imagine, there’s quite a lot to see…
A True Party Atmosphere
Predictably, one thing Las Vegas isn’t short of is people who want to party. But the atmosphere is different when sport fans come to town. The mood is brighter, the air lighter, the drums beat and flags litter the sky.
Walk into any bar, especially around the newly built T-Mobile arena, and swathes of jerseys – mainly Las Vegas Golden Knights – are huddled beneath the TV screens, cheering and chanting between mouthfuls of Bud. Debates, as they always do, rage on between opposing fans, but it’s all light-hearted. A true party atmosphere. That’s the beauty of sport — it’s for everyone, of all ages from every background you can think of. And Vegas is welcoming them with open arms.
Vegas Has a Lot to Cheer About
While Las Vegas has well and truly been bitten by the sporting bug, it would appear that one has bitten harder than the rest: ice hockey. The Vegas Golden Knights, who only began competing in 2017, became the first team since 1979-80 to make the playoffs in their inaugural season. At the end of March, they clinched the Pacific Division title, before advancing to the Western Conference Finals. They are also the first true expansion team to make it to the Stanley Cup in their first season.
NFL fans will soon have something to cheer about, too. As it was announced in 2017 that the Oakland Raiders will be relocating to the desert. The new stadium, which some are billing as the greatest stadium ever designed, and won’t be finished until 2020, is yet another indication of the investments Las Vegas is making in its bid to make their city a hub for sporting drama.
So, if you like to party, love good weather, sport or a bottle of beer — ideally all four — and the odd flutter, what are you waiting for?
For more information, go to www.visitlasvegas.co.uk