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Las Vegas flexes its sports muscle, hosting 4 pro events in one day

Updated September 27, 2021 - 4:38 am

A new ad dubbing Las Vegas the “greatest arena on Earth” rang true Sunday as a plethora of live professional sporting events entertained more than 125,000 fans.

The Raiders’ overtime win over the Miami Dolphins drew 59,311 fans, while the Aviators had 6,084 spectators at Las Vegas Ballpark for their victory over the Oklahoma City Dodgers. An estimated crowd of 43,000 fans watched the NASCAR South Point 400 race won by Denny Hamlin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and another 17,077 fans took in the Golden Knights’ first preseason game, a loss to the San Jose Sharks, at T-Mobile Arena.

That, folks, is unofficially 125,472 fans.

Sunday also marked the first time the Raiders, Knights and Aviators all played on the same day in Las Vegas with fans in the stands.

H. Fletch Brunelle, vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which produced the new ad, said if any city can handle such a number of large-scale events in one day, it’s Las Vegas.

“Las Vegas is the sports and entertainment capital of the world and the ideal destination to host multiple high-profile sports events at the same time,” Brunelle said. He said that with 150,000 hotel rooms, Las Vegas is “uniquely suited” to accommodate throngs of visitors.

Clark County also took notice of the bevy of events and took to Twitter to alert motorists to possible traffic congestion tied to the trio of event facilities located off Interstate 15: Allegiant Stadium, T-Mobile Arena and the speedway.

“It’s a big sports day in Las #Vegas with the @Raiders game @AllegiantStadm, #NASCARPlayoffs at @LVMotorSpeedway and @GoldenKnights hockey @TMobileArena. Expect extra traffic, especially in and around the Strip corridor. Be patient and safe on the roads. #VegasTraffic”

Summerlin resident John Sacco took in the Aviators game with his wife. The couple are season ticket holders for both the Aviators and the Golden Knights.

A Las Vegas resident since 1976 and longtime sports fan, Sacco said he’s ready to support as many sporting events as the city can offer.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Sacco said while at the Aviators game decked out in Knights gear. “We hope we’ll be able to go see everything.”

But Sacco didn’t plan on putting in double duty and going to the Knights game Sunday; he gave those tickets away to a friend.

Derek Duncan of Las Vegas did opt to pull a Sunday sports double feature, as he watched the Raiders’ win at Allegiant Stadium and was standing in front of T-Mobile Arena within 45 minutes.

“We planned it all out so we could see both of them,” Duncan said. “It’s going to be a long season of doing a lot of that, especially with Rebel basketball and Rebel football season tickets as well. A lot of dancing to do.”

Duncan made the experience a family affair, taking his brother to the Raiders game and his wife to the Knights game.

Already a season ticket holder for the Raiders, Knights and UNLV football and basketball, Duncan also has put down a deposit on season tickets for the Vegas Knight Hawks of the Indoor Football League when they begin play in Henderson in 2023. With talk of Major League Soccer possibly expanding to Las Vegas and Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics exploring possible relocation to Southern Nevada, Duncan said he may add to his already stacked list of season tickets.

“Living here my whole life, this is super exciting,” Duncan said, adding that he “always thought if we had a winner in Las Vegas that we would all support it. That happened overnight with the Knights and now it’s happening with the Raiders. I’m sure that’s appealing to other franchise owners who don’t have sellout games and poor attendance. If they move their franchise to Las Vegas, maybe they get the same kind of activity and the same type of success on the field.”

Sporting events in Las Vegas mean big business for the area. The 2019 fall NASCAR race had 72,350 fans in attendance, with 61,600 of those being from out of town, according to LVCVA data. Those fans delivered an estimated economic impact of $90.5 million, the LVCVA said.

These kinds of weekends are what Las Vegas is made for — with the sporting event being just part of the experience, according to Brunelle.

“Weekends with a high volume of sporting events are a huge win for the destination,” Brunelle said. “In any other city, you would probably go to the event and then go home, while Las Vegas offers so much to do before and after an event.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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