For years, Sin City was without a professional sports team (and no, the XFL’s Outlaws do not count). Maybe it was the close proximity to legal gambling or the worry that players would gravitate towards the legendary nightlife. Maybe the problem was that Vegas only has a regular population of around 600,000, when you take away all the tourists. It that enough to support a pro team from one of the big four leagues?
The NHL eventually decided that, yes, it was enough. The Las Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s newest expansion team, will join the league in the fall for the 2017-18 season. And although they will always be able to claim that the Golden Knights were the first to break ground in the Vegas market, it won’t be long until they are overshadowed by the giant that is the NFL.
The Oakland Raiders officially announced their intention to move to Vegas, and the move was approved in a 31-1 vote by the owners. They expect to have their first season in the desert happen in either 2019 or 2020. What’s the hold up? Well, there’s no football stadium in Vegas yet. To help out with that project, the city of Las Vegas plans to contribute $750 million into bringing the Raiders to town.
Golden Knights owner Bill Foley isn’t a fan of that decision.
“I felt like there were a lot better ways to spend $750 million than bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas,” said Foley. “We could spend it on police, firefighters and teachers and have them all be the best in the country. But I guess we’re going to spend it on the Raiders. … If I had complete control of the situation, I would not have opted to have the Raiders come here. But I didn’t, so I welcome them.”
The Golden Knights will play in the T-Mobile arena, which was 100 percent funded by private (not public) money. In fact, the Golden Knights didn’t really received any financial help from the city as they attempted to woo the NHL. So you can understand why a $750 million boost to the Raiders has Foley a bit miffed.