Las Vegas has finally been upgraded from bench warmers to first string. For years we haven't been able to have a national sports team because we're the betting hub of the nation and officials thought results could be rigged if we did. Well, our kicking and screaming at that unfair rule has finally paid off because now we're coming in hot with all these professional sports teams. By 2020, we'll have an NFL team (go Raiders!), an NHL team (Golden Knights are #1), a WNBA team (whoop whoop!) and a USL team. On top of that, we are already home to UFC, Boxing, AAA baseball and the NBA Summer League. You can say that sports in Vegas are a pretty big deal.
NHL - Golden Knights
In the words of the philosopher 2 Chainz, we “Did what they say we couldn't” and got professional NHL hockey in Las Vegas to be a real life thing! The NHL's Vegas Golden Knights claimed the T-Mobile Arena as their home ice in 2017 and thus became the first professional sports team in Las Vegas. Tears would be rolling down our face, but the cold from the rink has frozen our eyelids closed. While we're at it, this is a perfect time to envision a Stanley Cup parade rolling down the Strip before setting up shop at The Park . Man, talk about a rager for the ages.
We imagine being drop kicked in the UFC ring feels a whole lot like waking up after a night at Omnia . Not to say we have the fighting skills or endurance of Conor McGregor, but we're trying to be as relatable as possible. UFC has become a hot commodity over the years and if it's “hot” Vegas has to have it. If you thought watching the fighters slam each other to the ground on TV was cringe worthy, wait till you see it live – the bloodshed is insane. Call up your friends from last night and head to one of our many Las Vegas bars to catch these fighters brutally beat the crap out of each other.
Sports in Las Vegas may have entered the big leagues, but the city's first love has always been boxing. Nothing is bigger or more revered than boxing in Las Vegas (well, except for its restaurants and buffets , obvi). Name any number of the sweet science's greatest bouts and chances are they've been held under the bright lights of the Strip. Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns? Las Vegas. Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield? Vegas, baby. Muhammad Ali vs. Floyd Patterson? The old Las Vegas Convention Center ring a bell? Heck, even modern classics like basically every Mayweather bout or Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin wouldn't dream of being held anywhere else. Las Vegas boxing is the sport's end all-be all. Its “Mecca” if you will. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
Show of hands if you've ever been dunked on or have had your ankles broken. Don't feel too bad, that's been our existence since the 7 th grade. But you'd better get used to it because all of that rejection is going to be happening on the reg once the WNBA pulls into town. You heard that right. The WNBA in Las Vegas is a real thing. Professional basketball in Las Vegas is a REAL THING! Set to arrive in 2018, the San Antonio Stars –ahem- the Las Vegas Stars (eek!) will claim Mandalay Bay Events Center as their home court (and fingers crossed, the championship parade will follow soon after). Finally, an excuse to yell “booyaka,” “in your face” and “she's on fire” in a burning building. Our apologies to LVFD in advance.
NFL – Las Vegas Raiders
Tossing the old pig skin around with dear old dad is one of our favorite things to do in Las Vegas . We might not have gone to the NFL, but it's still fun to watch the pros play ball. Call up your dad and start saving for your Las Vegas Raiders season passes now. We've finally got our own professional football team to root for, and we are going to root the hell out of them. We're even going to take it a step further and paint our bodies black and silver to show off our spirit…and to get on national TV because, well we live to be in the spotlight. Time for some true bonding time with dad while these player bang their heads together and toss the ball around in Vegas.
Basketball in Las Vegas has traditionally been dominated by that “runnin'" college team. As of late however, Vegas' hardwood love affair has evolved to include competition of the highest level. Translation: the NBA. Every year the NBA hosts its annual Summer League in Las Vegas, a gathering of the league's recent draft picks and top G-Leaguers. But that's not all! One of the NBA's premiere franchises, the Los Angeles Lakers have made it a tradition to partake in at least one pre-season game each year here on the Strip. But that's not all! The arrival of T-Mobile Arena has only added to Las Vegas' basketball bounty as countless college tournaments and Ice Cube's Big3 Basketball set up shop on Las Vegas Boulevard. With any luck, the basketball gods will answer our prayers and an NBA team in Las Vegas will be arriving shortly. Until then, hoops heads are pretty lucky.
USL – Las Vegas Lights
We're not the only ones who put our shirts over our heads and run through the streets when something great happens, right? Well if so, not for long. Our own USL team, The Las Vegas Lights are joining in on the fun and we couldn't be any happier. The riveting spectators, the roaring crowd after a missed goal and the players' smooth footwork is what soccer is all about. And now we get to go to a real life game instead of watching it at one of the bars in Las Vegas . No more screaming at the LA Galaxy or the Portland Timbers, it's time to come together and root for the Lights. Time to go into our closet and pick out an easily-torn shirt, the Las Vegas Lights are coming to town and we're ready to get wild with them. GOOOOOOAAAAAL!
Las Vegas baseball has been a thing for awhile. If we're being specific, the Las Vegas 51s have been around since 1983, except back then they were known as Las Vegas Stars. Currently the Triple-A affiliates of MLB's New York Mets, the 51s aren't Las Vegas' only ties to MLB. Thanks to homegrown studs like MVP's Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant, baseball in Las Vegas is alive and well.
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