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PBR World Finals to move from Las Vegas to Cowboys’ stadium

Updated September 24, 2020 - 8:13 pm

Both of Las Vegas’ big rodeo events have temporarily moved to Texas.

The Professional Bull Riders World Finals, which have been in Las Vegas since 1994, will move to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for this year’s event, the PBR announced Thursday.

The event, which is scheduled for Nov. 12-15, has been held at T-Mobile Arena since 2016. AT&T Stadium is the home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys.

Restrictions on the size of crowds in Nevada because of the coronavirus epidemic kept the event from staying in Las Vegas this year. Texas has much looser pandemic restrictions.

A spokesperson for the PBR, which is based in Las Vegas, said the relocation was for one year.

Earlier this month, the National Finals Rodeo announced it was moving to another venue in Arlington for this year’s December event. It also is scheduled to return next year.

PBR Commissioner Sean Gleason said the move came together in the past eight days. The event will take place during the Cowboys’ bye week.

“Despite many valiant efforts from our many friends and partners in Las Vegas … we were just not able to secure approval from Gov. (Steve) Sisolak to hold an event in any arena in Las Vegas in 2020,” Gleason said in a video statement. “Unfortunately, that ends 26 years of holding the PBR World Finals in the city of Las Vegas.

“While we’ll miss our friends in Las Vegas, today is actually a day of celebration. (That’s) because given the circumstances, PBR will be held at AT&T Stadium in the heart of cowboy country.”

Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said the PBR World Finals is one of Las Vegas’ “most anticipated events of the year.”

“We understand that different events have different needs and timelines, and we respect PBR’s decision to relocate the 2020 World Finals. We look forward to welcoming PBR fans back to Las Vegas in Spring 2021 for more exciting bull riding action and Only-in-Vegas experiences and entertainment,” Hill said.

PBR officials also announced the next team-formatted PBR Global Cup, which was to be held at AT&T Stadium in 2021, will move to Las Vegas next spring at a time and venue to be determined.

And the PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals, originally scheduled for South Point Arena on Oct. 31-Nov. 2 has been moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, one week later.

The PBR World Finals were first held at the MGM Grand Garden from 1994-1998 and then at Thomas & Mack Center from 1999-2015 before moving to T-Mobile.

Last year’s event drew 72,300 people over the multiple-day event, with approximately 18,700 attendees hailing from out of state, according to LVCVA data. Those visitors were responsible for $28.6 million in direct spending, the LVCVA said.

Losing the PBR and NFR, which are known as the “Super Bowl of rodeo,” is a one-two-punch to Las Vegas’ economy. The NFR already announced it will take place Dec. 3-12 at Globe Life Park, where Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers play.

UNLV hospitality professor Amanda Belarmino said individual states have had to make their own decisions on reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Texas has opened quicker and been able to bring in more events.

“However, PBR’s home is Las Vegas, and our hospitality industry will look forward to welcoming them home with open arms in 2021,” she said.

Mick Akers and Mike Shoro contributed to this report. Bill Bradley is sports editor of the Review-Journal. He can be reached at bbradley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2909. Follow @billbradleyLV on Twitter.

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