The NFL will play Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, cementing the league’s entry into a city that has remained at arm’s length for decades as the sport has been associated with gambling.
The announcement, which the league made at its quarterly owners’ meeting on Wednesday, must have produced scrutiny and surprise due to the long-standing opposition to betting on NFL games a few years ago, and the many rules that players and league personnel have to follow. stop from. Join the casino.
But over the past four years, the NFL’s icy approach to the city has rapidly melted away.
In 2017, League owners 31-1. Voted To allow the Raiders to move from Oakland to Las Vegas. Although some owners were reluctant to remove a team from California’s highly lucrative market, they were persuaded by officials in Clark County, Nev., who paid $750 million in construction costs for one. New stadium right across from the Strip,
He also correctly predicted that the following year, 2018, Supreme Court to scrap nearly three-decade-old law which banned the rest of the United States from conducting sports gambling operations. The decision opened a floodgates, with leagues and teams signing deals with sports gambling-related businesses, including casinos and betting apps.
The league had planned to host the draft in Las Vegas in 2020, but the event was pushed back by two years to April 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. (The league hosted an entirely virtual event in 2020, and the draft moved to Cleveland this year.)
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In February, the NFL will also play the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas.
Awarding the Super Bowl to Las Vegas, however, is the biggest sign yet that the league has not only embraced the so-called Sin City but has lost most of its inhibitions regarding sports gambling.
“It’s a big day for the Raiders. It’s a big day for Las Vegas,” said Raiders owner Mark Davis. “I’d say it’s a marriage made in heaven.”
The NFL often awards the Super Bowl to teams and cities building new stadiums. In recent years, the Super Bowl has been held in Atlanta and Minneapolis in stadiums that were newly built by the Falcons and Vikings.
The Raiders also play at a new home, Allegiant Stadium, which opened last year. But given that the league once handled the city with proverbial kid gloves, rewarding it with the Super Bowl is the equivalent of a full hug.
Beyond the gambling stigma, the city is one of the most lucrative for the NFL to host the Super Bowl. The weather in Las Vegas is expected to be pleasant and warm in February, there are more than enough hotel rooms and restaurants to meet the league’s needs, and the city’s airport can handle the increase in traffic from visitors.
Many of Las Vegas’ 150,000 hotel rooms are typically booked over Super Bowl weekend. But with the game being played in the city, the room rates will go up. There is also a full week of events leading up to the game. Steve Hill, chief executive of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said higher room rates and additional bookings should generate an additional $70 million in state and local taxes.
Elegant Stadium, which seats approximately 65,000 fans, Slight expansion may be required to meet league requirements, But it’s a minor detail, considering that four years ago, team owners would have scoffed at the idea of the NFL playing their most-watched game in town.