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Las Vegas successfully hosted the 2007 NBA All Star Game, but it is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States without a major league franchise. Sure Vegas has some minor league teams, the Las Vegas 51s, a Los Angeles Dodgers farm club in the AAA Pacific Coast League, the Las Vegas Stars of the International Basketball League and the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL hockey league. None of the major professional sports leagues have ever had a team in Las Vegas, with the notable exception of the Utah Jazz' half-season schedule at the Thomas & Mack Center in 1983-84. The possibility of relocating a professional major-league team to Las Vegas is an ongoing discussion that city leaders that pops up in the news every couple of years. Las Vegas has been home to 3 professional teams the XFL’s Las Vegas Outlaws lasting all of one season, the CFL’s Las Vegas Posse also lasting one season, and the Arena Football’s Las Vegas Gladiators who have moved to Cleveland lasting for four seasons.
The issue of sports betting is seen as being the major problem with any potential pro sports team being located in Las Vegas by the NBA, the NFL, the MLB and the NHL. All having strong anti-gambling policies, for all personnel; player or otherwise. Current Mayor Oscar Goodman is working on a proposal to the NBA about a possible arena and changes in the city's sports gambling regulations.
Gambling is only part of Vegas’ problem, population, TV market, and facilities are some of the other problems.
How can population be a problem you ask for a city that has just under 600,000 residents and almost 40 million visitors a year? Easy...entertainment is the main employer in Vegas and most of that entertainment is at night so the “locals” will be too busy working when the sporting events are going on, which makes it kind of hard for selling seats let alone having sellouts. And the visitors you ask? Well with all the different entertainment venues in Vegas it would be a fight for the all mighty dollar.
According to Nielsen Media Research, Las Vegas is the 43rd ranked TV market. Only four cities with pro sports teams are in markets smaller than Las Vegas. (Jacksonville, New Orleans, Buffalo, and Green Bay)
The facilities are limited you have the 9,500 seat Orleans Arena, the soon to be 25 year old Thomas & Mack Center, and the 37 year old, 45,000 seat Sam Boyd Stadium both of which would have to be shared with UNLV.
So my final conclusion is while it seems that the powers that be in Vegas are trying really hard to procure a major sports franchise; I do not see it happening anytime soon.