Las Vegas may have all the greatest casinos and nightclubs, as it is the number one 24-hour entertainment city in the world, but Sin City is lacking one major attraction – a professional sports team. Beginning in February of 2015 though, Las Vegas will be home to the Arena Football League’s newest expansion team, the Las Vegas Outlaws. The owner of the Outlaws will be Motley Crue’s rocker, Vince Neil, who is also the most recent rocker to sign ownership for an AFL team.
This will be the third time that the AFL has brought arena football to Las Vegas. Initially, in the earliest years of AFL history, Las Vegas was home to the Sting from 1994-1995, but eventually the team moved to Anaheim, as they struggled to earn their place in Vegas, with only an average of 5,700 fans a night. From 2003-2007, the Las Vegas Gladiators built those numbers with an average of 9,000 fans a night, but eventually, they too moved to a different city, this time to Cleveland. The Cleveland Gladiators lost in this past weekend’s Arena Bowl XXVII against the defending champions, the Arizona Rattlers. Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz announced the newest addition to the AFL on the Arena Bowl’s Media Day last Friday night.
Not only will The Outlaws help the AFL grow, but they will surely increase tourist traffic in the Entertainment Capital of the World. Currently, there still has been no word on where the Outlaws will play, but Las Vegas has grown as a city, so location will not be an issue. Coincidentally, construction for a $1.3 billion arena on The Strip was projected to start this year. This new arena will hold approximately 22,000 seats, and its purpose was to host indoor events like basketball, hockey, concerts, boxing, and other recreational events. Former NBA player and UNLV basketball star Jackie Robinson initially started the project. This new arena could potentially be home to the AFL’s newest Las Vegas Outlaws in its upcoming seasons if they do not look to other options like the Thomas & Mack Center or other potential convention centers in the area.
According to Commissioner Kurz, placing a team in Las Vegas has always been in the making, as thousands of tourists fly in and out of Sin City every single day. As the Entertainment Capital grew every year, the plan became more and more realistic, and it was only a matter of time where they find the most compatible ownership for the team. Motley Crue rocker Vince Neil was a perfect candidate for the job. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS recent signed ownership for the AFL’s LA Kiss, growing it as a franchise since then by having one of the highest number of fans in the league altogether. Vince Neil could be what it takes for the Las Vegas Outlaws to also be on that level and bring more success to Las Vegas as a whole. Either way, the Outlaws could just be the beginning of Las Vegas’s future in professional sports.
Commentary by Tricia Manalansan