From Entertainment Capital to Sports Mecca – How We Can Leverage the Region’s Growing Sports Economy

In less than a decade, Las Vegas has undergone a remarkable transformation, expanding beyond its reputation as the entertainment capital of the world to become a thriving destination for sports fans. While the city has long been known for glitzy shows and bustling casinos, the emergence of professional sports franchises and world-class sporting events has reshaped its identity into the sports and entertainment capital of the world.

The pivotal moment in this transformation occurred in 2017 with the establishment of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, marking the city’s first major professional sports team. The rapid success and passionate fan base of the Golden Knights proved the untapped potential of Las Vegas as a sports market.

Just a year later, the city welcomed the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, who quickly garnered a dedicated following and rejuvenated interest in women’s professional basketball with their electrifying performances and back-to-back championships. Shortly after the Aces planted their flag, the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders relocated from Oakland, finding a new home at Allegiant Stadium, and igniting a fervor for football.

Las Vegas’ transformation into a sports destination has had a substantial impact on the region’s economy. Sports tourism has surged, as fans travel to the city for games, tournaments, and events, boosting the hospitality industry and creating new opportunities for businesses.

Allegiant Stadium has created more than 7,900 local jobs while generating $1.8 billion in economic impact. In 2022, Allegiant Stadium brought in 1.7 million fans, many of whom were from out of town. Last year, experts estimated that sporting events in Las Vegas generated $1.845 billion in direct output from out-of-town visitors.

Next week, the Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix roars into town, with a projected overall economic impact of more than $1 billion. The inaugural F1 event kicks off a series of more than 35 major sporting events in 2024, including the Super Bowl, which is also expected to generate more than $500 million in total economic impact in the region.

These major sporting events are not only a direct boost to our region’s economy, but they also offer us a unique opportunity to extend the economic impact beyond the events themselves.

CEO’s and business executives have always been drawn to our city thanks to our robust convention industry, and the allure is heightened now that there is the option of attending a major sporting event. The nation’s top business decision makers are regularly in our backyard, and it’s time we start leveraging this competitive advantage.

It’s LVGEA’s intention, alongside our state, municipal, and community partners, to utilize the region’s major sporting events moving forward as an opportunity to showcase why Las Vegas is a great place to live and do business. If the top executives are already in town, why not take the opportunity to show them everything our city has to offer beyond the Las Vegas Strip?

Let’s give them a tour of our region’s top-notch higher education institutions. Let’s show them the many diverse neighborhoods where they could raise a family. And let’s educate them on the benefits of doing business in Nevada. The idea is, you may have visited Las Vegas to watch the Super Bowl or F1, but you’re leaving with an understanding of why moving or expanding your business to the region is a winning idea.

As the sports economy continues to grow in the Las Vegas valley, so too can our region’s overall economy. Stay tuned, as we’ll be sharing more information soon about our strategy to leverage Super Bowl LVIII to bring new innovative companies to our region…