Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Can Las Vegas Support an NHL Team?

The news that an NHL hockey team might be coming to Las Vegas has sparked much debate whether the city could support a professional sports franchise.

Usually the biggest obstacle for a city attracting a team is to have an arena. With the new MGM arena being built that major hurdle has already been jumped.

The arena's prime location on the Strip should attract both tourists and locals alike. I can imagine folks using a hockey game as another entertainment option on their vacation. It wouldn't surprise me to even see tickets for the NHL team being sold at ticket booths around the Strip alongside traditional shows.

So I think attendance will be reasonably strong when you combine tourists and locals. The larger concern would be whether a hockey team could thrive in the desert and gain a strong local TV following among a transient population. Phoenix has had similar struggles with their hockey team.

Whether the team is ultimately successful or not, bringing a pro sports team would be a victory in defining Las Vegas as a major city and would continue to diversify the city's entertainment portfolio beyond gaming.