Construction is already under way on the Las Vegas Ice Arena, but is creating a Las Vegas pro hockey team really a good idea?
Adding a new team to the NHL would be a game changer. It would bring about a new roster for players who might otherwise be stuck in the minors, a new potential threat to teams accustomed to regularly making it into the playoffs, a change to the in-season matchups — the list goes on. However, Las Vegas is known as Sin City for a reason. Most of the people who stay long enough to call it home work for the established entertainment industries.
The novelty of combining Vegas style with the thrill of hockey (and potentially basketball, too) is interesting, but professional sports teams rely on season ticket holders to survive, which would mean about ten thousand people committing to 40 tickets per season as the minimum for this plan to work in the long run. With almost the entire population of the city working for the casinos and restaurants and half of them working during game times, there doesn’t seem to be anyone left to work in the arena, much less buy tickets.
What’s more, while athletes might end up spending some of their salaries in casino and restaurant industries, it’s hard to imagine a sports arena competing with an industry focused on keeping its visitors inside their casinos, hotels and restaurants as long as they are in town (all day, every day, if possible).
Adding these to all of the normal obstacles involved in creating a new franchise make Seattle and Wisconsin look like much better options for the NHL. Maybe Vegas could try the NFL – it is currently the nation’s most popular sport, and they would only have to secure season tickets for eight home games.