The city of Las Vegas took another big step towards landing a Major League Soccer expansion team on Tuesday, announcing an agreement with the Cordish Companies and Findlay Sports & Entertainment to build a $400 million downtown soccer-specific stadium in the heart of the Sin City.
The plans, however, are contingent on MLS approving a Nevada-based club.
The announcement came along with a couple of renderings of what the new stadium would look like, and while I must say that it would be a nice play to play and visit, there is one big problem: there is no roof over the field to protect the players and fans from the sweltering Las Vegas summer temperatures.
And that is just one of the many problems I see facing Las Vegas from grabbing the 24th expansion spot that MLS is hoping to hand out before 2020.
Las Vegas has really put the foot on the peddle recently in it’s attempts to bring any will major sports league to town — the city is also trying to land an NHL team — but it’s having a tough time; maybe because there is no proof out there that the tourist town can even support a professional sports team. With the wide range of people coming in to enjoy the attractions and casinos, whose to say that enough people will come to Las Vegas looking to spend their money — and time — at a sporting event?
At this point in time, bringing MLS straight to Vegas would be a very big gamble by the league.
I remember seeing a report earlier this month that suggested MLS could be looking to host a future All-Star Game in Vegas to test the strength of the fan interest. If true, that would not prove anything for the city. 1.) one game should not be the determining factor in this big of a decision. 2.) fans will come from all over to watch an All-Star Game, so, again, you won’t be able to find the fans’ interest in that.
I’ve been saying since Day 1 that if anything, the league needs to request that Las Vegas builds a USL PRO club first to compete for a couple of years under MLS to see what kind of attendance numbers they draw. You know, take the Orlando City approach to things and show the league that there is, in fact, a reason to reward to city.
While a getting a starting is big part of getting an MLS team — just ask David Beckham — it’s not everything, and until we see actual proof the town can support a pro sports team, everybody is just wasting their time.