Story of the Week
LAS VEGAS & BIG LEAGUE SPORTS
Las Vegas cannot and will not support major league sports, and I do mean period. As a resident of Las Vegas, I find it quite humorous that the local media gets off on this city being a potential big league sports venue. Forget it! I totally agree with a local writer, Joe Hawk, and his September commentary on the subject; it was he who put the thought for this article in my head.
Let’s not lose sight of the significance of Las Vegas. It is THE fun capital of the world, and the only emphasis on sports here is betting it. That goes for the locals and tourists alike. The sports "books" here draw the fans; the "books" are the playpens for all of us sports junkies. They, the local sports "books", were the innovation of the handicapping brilliance and foresight of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal. For further clarification, see the movie "Casino". Robert DeNiro portrays Rosenthal’s likeness; in the movie, he’s "Ace" Rothstein.
Not one visitor to "Sin City" would ever visit Las Vegas to attend a pro sports function unless his or her own hometown or favorite team happened to be playing a game here against the local pro entry. Other than this example, the tourists will not see pro games, any pro games, here unless they see them on the multi-screens of a casino "book" where they can bet the games as well. If you have ever been to a major casino "book" to bet and watch sports, you know exactly what I mean; the action and the atmosphere are sensational.
So, conceivably, the notion of tourists supporting a Las Vegas pro team has been dispelled. Now let’s move on to the locals. I’ve lived here for almost two years, and I haven’t heard one friend or acquaintance ever tell me that he or she would like to see a major sports team land in Las Vegas. The locals here couldn’t care less, myself included.
Las Vegas has become a retirement capital. Retirees have to be rather careful with their bucks, and even more prudent by virtue of the recovering economy in the aftermath of 9-11-2001. These residents of Las Vegas will spend their hard-earned savings on nickel slots before they’ll buy tickets at major league price levels for a local team. And the young people here will join the tourists at the local "books" before they’ll go watch the Las Vegas Royal Flushes play the Arizona Cardinals or the Cincinnati Reds or the Utah Jazz or the Calgary Flames in person.
We have a pro baseball team here, the Las Vegas 51’s, a farm team of the Dodgers. I’ve been to Cashman Field to see them once in two seasons. Suffice it to state that I will not do it again. It is not exactly the #1 priority of residents of this town; their attendance attests to it. There is nothing in the way of history to indicate that a big league team would be any more successful here. Then there’s the subject of "where" they’d play, but that subject warrants little-to-no consideration at this point in time; "why?" is a better question.
Now for the clincher. Major corporations finance big-time sports. They buy the big-time tickets. Las Vegas does not have enough corporate power in place to do this were a pro team to base here. It just isn’t a hub for big corporations, at least not yet, and until that happens, any talk of a big league sport being successful in Las Vegas, Nevada is pure fantasy.
So, to the Montreal Expos, you’re wasting your time. The day you see a $450 million stadium built in Las Vegas for you to play in will be the day that I’m the marquee-billed headliner at Caesar’s Palace as the greatest singing voice since Frank Sinatra.
Last Week’s Trivia
Who is the only major league baseball MVP to never appear in an All-Star game. Kirk Gibson was asked to be on the team twice, but refused.
Trivia Question of the Week
Who was the first college quarterback to throw for 10,000 career yards? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.