Mark it down, the city of Las Vegas and the National Hockey League will become partners. The Oakland Raiders are not coming but we saw how the mention of Las Vegas moved the meter.
I've lived in Las Vegas for close to 25 years, moving here from update New York. I'm an East Coast guy with a passion for professional sports betting and the city I call home. To say Vegas has grown through the years would be a gross understatement. It's gone from cheap buffets and slick lounge acts to world class dining, shopping and entertainment. This is no longer the place where stars go to die, it's the place they go to live.
We are one of the few places that can think of ourselves as a major city without the luxury of professional sports. Make no mistake, this town needs a franchise to call our own to complete the process of finally being invited to the adult table.
The Clark County School District is the fifth largest in the country and although I have personal feelings about the district itself, the kids in the city's 300 plus schools deserve to grow up with a franchise the way I did.
The National Hockey league will bond this city together completing our metephoric transition into adulthood.
There are many that still don't understand that Las Vegas is much more than a five-mile road that runs through the middle of town. When tourist are asked about the probability of the NHL working here, I can see them quickly reliving a weekend filled with bad choices before they answer.
Their response doesn't really matter because this isn't for visitors. True, the $375 million dollar arena will sit about 150 yards off the Strip where 42 million tourist will have access. They are welcome to take in Guns 'n Roses, Garth Brooks, or the Harlem Globetrotters but the NHL is ours.
Potential owner, Bill Foley, just announced that over 14,000 season ticket deposits have been made and most without the help of the casino's. Foley wanted to build a community event which is why the casinos were never involved until late in the process. The NHL asked for 10,000, in true Las Vegas fashion we over delivered.
It's comical when people compare our potential for success to the Phoenix market. The two couldn't be further apart. I'm not sure why we don't get more Anaheim comparisons, a succesful franchise and geographically closer. The Ducks, not a Stanley Cup contender, fill up almost 95% of their building every night in a market that would be considered non-traditional.
No one would accuse the Tampa, Florida area to be a hockey mecca but yet they manage to sell out their barn every night. Success isn't measured by annual rainfall it's measured by the passion of the people behind it. Cynics of Las Vegas conveiniently forget that 'traditional' markets like Ottawa, New York and New Jersey struggle to sell out their buildings. Yet we always seem to find ourselves back to Phoenix.
The Phoenix market has four major professional sports teams in addition to the WNBA, Arena Football, and Arizona State University. People are not going to drive out to Glendale to watch a team that hasn't made the playoffs in three seasons. So please explain to me how that is the same as Las Vegas where the only thing we have in common with them is UNLV. People bring up the transient nature of the two cities but show me a city that wasn't built by people who weren't from there.
The Oakland Raiders are not coming but we saw how the mention of Las Vegas moved the meter. We will have it all one day.