By ALAN SNEL
This week’s debut of LVSportsBiz.com in Las Vegas coincides with the three-month anniversary of a distracted motorist carelessly driving his car into me as I bicycled on a quiet two-lane road in Florida. It happened three months ago to the day in the Fort Pierce area two hours north of Miami.
As I recovered from two fractured two vertebrae and a concussion in my home in Vero Beach, Fla., I realized I needed to return to The West and Las Vegas while also returning to reporting and writing about my journalism bread-and-butter — the business/politics of sports and stadiums in Las Vegas.
Out of that crash grew what will be the authoritative journalistic voice on the topic of the business side of sports in this town. LVSportsBiz.com will document Las Vegas’ growth into a major-league team sports town.
The business of sports and stadiums was a news beat I covered at the Las Vegas Review-Journal for more than 3½ years until March 2016. I covered the early stages of Bill Foley’s campaign to create a NHL team on the Strip; the multi-faceted, big-time Las Vegas Motor Speedway which was highlighted by a popular NASCAR weekend and now a second NASCAR weekend starting in 2018; and the many efforts to build stadiums and arenas in this growing market.
Now more than ever, a news source is needed in Las Vegas to serve as watchdog, information digger and storyteller as the Raiders receive $750 million in public dollars to build a $1.9 billion domed stadium at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue on the west side of Interstate 15. It’s supposed to open in 2020, though the Raiders may play here before that.
The NHL Golden Knights will bring major-league hockey to the desert and LVSportsBiz.com will report about its marketing efforts to plant the NHL in southern Nevada.
The privately-funded T-Mobile Arena was a catalyst in driving the NHL to Las Vegas and it will continue to be a palatial forum for big-time UFC and boxing fights, while luring other sports to Sin City.
The 51s, always patient for a new ballpark, will eventually get a new home in Summerlin in a few years and leave their sewage-infested ball yard in downtown. Minor league soccer is expected to be played at Cashman in downtown Vegas.
Las Vegas will grow in status as Fighttown USA — led by Dana White, the UFC ringleader who wears worn jeans accessorized by a quick smile, and Floyd Mayweather, who simply goes by Money.
UNLV will eventually play its football games at the Raiders stadium, while its basketball team will try to restore its luster of yesteryear at the renovated Thomas & Mack after attendance plummeted last season.
Hoops are still hot in Las Vegas, which hosts the NBA Summer League once again next month and LVSportsBiz.com will be at the arena on the UNLV campus to cover the business side of basketball this summer. The National Finals Rodeo and its tough-as-nails cowboys will continue to kick up dirt at the Thomas & Mack in December when Las Vegas returns to its western cowtown roots.
Now you see that Las Vegas is experiencing a sports renaissance — a golden age of stadiums, arenas and sports in southern Nevada.
I also make another pledge. LVSportsBiz.com will not shy away from covering controversial issues or people and will pride itself on providing an independent journalism voice in Las Vegas.
This new website could not have happened without my former Denver Post colleague and book author Mark Obmascik, who was in Vero Beach when I was on the mend in March and paid a house call with Chinese food, grapefruits and a certain idea.
Mark encouraged me to pursue my old sports-business coverage in Las Vegas — and I did just that when I returned to health and Las Vegas in late May to launch LVSportsBiz.com this week.
So, out of the pain and brutality of a terrible crash three months ago grew a new Las Vegas sports-business website that I hope will provoke thought, stir public debate and lead to an illumination of the issues around sports and stadiums in Las Vegas.
I’m mostly healed and strong enough to bike Red Rock Canyon and the BLM loop road. It’s been an event-filled quarter-year and I’m grateful to return to Las Vegas to provide sports-business coverage that I hope will improve your handle on the issues of our dynamic region.
To sustain LVSportsBiz.com, we will need committed advertisers. So, I hope I can get the chance to tell you the value of partnering with LVSportsBiz. Thank you Joe Maloof and Brothers for being this website’s first advertiser.
And if you have a sportsbiz story idea or news tip, I’m right here at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com.