Las Vegas pro sports growth mirrors Nashville’s

When the announcement came Monday that the NFL had voted to allow the Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas, the city suddenly became a two-sport major league. It also evoked a flashback.

Back in 1998, Nashville saw the Predators play their inaugural season as an NHL expansion team while the NFL’s Tennessee Oilers, soon to be the Titans, played at Vanderbilt University while waiting for their permanent home, Adelphia Coliseum, to be finished for 1999.

And with the move of the Raiders come challenges for the Golden Knights. John Vrooman, a professor of sports economics at Vanderbilt, said the Raiders’ presence in Las Vegas won’t necessarily be a good thing for the Golden Knights when it comes to securing corporate sponsors.

“Because of the amount of revenue sharing, the cash flow in the NFL is sure money, whereas each NHL club lives on an economic island,” he said Tuesday. “Less than 20 percent of NFL revenue comes from the gate, compared to almost 50 percent in the NHL. Almost two-thirds of NFL revenue comes from national media (buys), while national media is comparative chump change in the NHL.”

Knights owner Bill Foley and team president Kerry Bubolz acknowledged as much Monday. Foley said the team will have to work harder to secure corporate sponsors, and Bubolz said it is already a priority.

“I think being the first team in the market has given us a leg up,” Foley said. “We’ve known that the Raiders moving here was a possibility for a while, so we’ve been focusing on lining up local businesses as sponsors.”


But the Knights are asking those businesses to pay top dollar and commit longer than UNLV or the 51s are. That has led to sticker shock and hesitation from some local companies.

“We’re the first team in the market, and we’re selling sponsorships at a major league level,” Bubolz said. “We’re not interested in one-year deals. We’re looking at long-term commitments, and that means increased dollars.”

Vrooman said it could come to the point where the football and hockey teams work together to sell corporate sponsorships.

“If both teams perform well in Vegas and attract significant corporate season-ticket and luxury-seat clients after the two- to three-year honeymoon is over, they may even share corporate sponsors.” he said. “The challenge faced by the Predators was to flip their corporate/regular fan ratio from 1:2 to the 2:1 which characterizes most of the NHL teams that reside in traditional hockey markets.

“It may be this second tier of corporate clients where the markets of Nashville and Las Vegas differ. The economic key for the Golden Knights (and the Raiders for that matter) is to survive any performance drought after the honeymoon is over.”

The Knights have sold approximately 14,000 season tickets. Vrooman said that’s a good number because that money is in the bank regardless of how the team does on the ice.

“Both NFL and NHL teams rely heavily on the corporate client season ticket base,” Vrooman said. “The problem is that almost all gate revenue in the NFL is derived from season tickets, whereas only about half of the tickets sold in the NHL are season tickets. Corporate season tickets are more valuable than walk-up tickets because they are more certain and inelastic with respect to winning and price.”

As for the television market, Nashville is ranked No. 30 with approximately 1 million households, while Las Vegas is No. 40 with about 740,000. Vrooman said the Nashville corporate presence is much deeper and more diversified than Las Vegas’ heavy dependence on the gaming industry.

“This lack of economic depth could make it difficult to maintain the consistent simultaneous season-ticket demand for hockey and football on an economic oasis in the Southwest desert,” he said.

Contact Steve Carp at or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like