Sin City has been welcoming towards the Las Vegas Raiders. Amid concerns mainly tourists will attend their games, one NHL high-profile player thinks that won’t be the case.
This past Thursday, Las Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves went on the Upon Further Review podcast and discussed the idea that pro sports teams in Vegas would have their home games filled with tourists rooting for the opposing team rather than hometown fans. Reaves pointed out that the Golden Knights have proven that theory to be incorrect:
“So I think everybody thought that it was just going to be a bunch ofÂ away fans but it’s not even close to that.You do have those games where you get those traveling teams and they take up you know 1/8 of the arena or whatever, but, for the most part it’s all locals here, it’s all people cheering for the Knights and it’s the exact opposite of what I would’ve thought.”
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There is some concern that the raucous atmosphere at Raiders home games will get lost in the move to Sin City. That concern is not unfounded either. Look what has happened to the Chargers since moving to Los Angeles. However, I think there is one huge difference between Las Vegas and Los Angeles: The competition for attention there is in each city.
Not including their lone season in the city in 1961, the Chargers are the third different NFL team to set up shop in L.A. (fourth if you count the Rams twice). While the city did go without a team from 1995 to 2016, pro football in Los Angeles is nothing new. Aside from that 20 year hiatus, the City of Angels has had at least one NFL team since 1946. Also, Los Angeles is already home to many other major professional sports teams. It has two NBA teams, two MLB teams, and an NHL team. Basically, it is tough to develop a local fan base when you are the newest of seven pro sports teams in the city.
Las Vegas, on the other hand, is a city that is starving for pro sports teams to get behind. It got its first one with the NHL’s Golden Knights in 2017, and there was immediately a rabid local fan base. Remember, hockey is not nearly as popular in the U.S. as football. One can only imagine what things are going to look like when the city gets its first NFL team.
Sure, there will almost certainly be a tourist element at games in Vegas, but do not expect it to be very noticeable. If Reave’s description of the Knights’ attendance is any indication, it will only be a small portion of the crowd. It almost certainly will not look anything like this.
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Top photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Image