The Vegas Golden Knights thrive to be a regional team, but the Raiders already have the demos to be the team of the West.

Las Vegas’ Regional Major League Team? More Like the Raiders Than the Golden Knights

By ALAN SNEL

Some LVSportsBiz thoughts while we wait for Conor McGregor’s fashion consultant to draft a few more three-piece suit ideas.

 

There’s no denying the pretty landscape ¬†scenes and pleasant towns of Montana and Idaho on the Golden Knights’ recent bus tour. And there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be a regional sports team, hence the Golden Knights’ “team of the Rockies” marketing mantra.

 

But the fact is the NHL wanted to see a team in Las Vegas capable of drawing fans game-in, game-out from the southern Nevada market — the whole point of the season ticket deposit campaign of 2015.

 

Golden Knights owner Bill Foley with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman right before the season ticket campaign announcement in early 2015.

 

Montana and Idaho are beautiful places to visit in August, especially when Las Vegas is baking in triple-digit temperatures. But some sports marketing folks I talked with said they would be following basic marketing 101 guidelines such as installing more team signage and hockey presence at the T-Mobile Arena, plaza and park areas; unveiling a mascot that should already be out and about greeting fans at local businesses and sponsors’ locations; privately leaning on Cox Communications and AT&T Sports Network behind the scenes to make damn sure locals can watch VGK games on cable TV when the season starts; and getting team jerseys into retail locations (you can order them at the team store but there’s nothing like touching and seeing them in person at shops. I visited the team store this week and a visitor was disappointed he couldn’t buy a jersey while in the shop.)

 

The Golden Knights have built a nice local foundation in other ways. The $25 million, two-rink practice facility in Summerlin is a team resource for player training and practices while also fostering interest in skating and hockey through public use. The team’s outreach to kids to build a love for hockey is also admirable.

 

Fans would love to get their hands on a Golden Knights jersey.

 

I don’t expect any cash flow problems with the Golden Knights the first year or two as the team enjoys a honeymoon with its host market. And with 14,000 equivalent season ticket deals in their back pocket, the Golden Knights saw an opportunity to expand their marketing frontier with a bus tour to the outer reaches of their TV market in their quest to make the club the team of the Rockies.

 

The Golden Knights’ new practice facility is a great addition to the Las Vegas community.

 

Fans just wish they could be wearing their Golden Knights jerseys by now and have a comfort zone of knowing they can watch VGK games on their local TV cable Cox system so that the Golden Knights can be the team of the desert, too.

 

Which brings us to the Las Vegas team that is poised to become a regional powerhouse — your Las Vegas Raiders.

 

Raiders’ stadium in Las Vegas is slated to open in mid-2020.

 

Less than half of the Raiders’ PSL deposits at the new $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat stadium at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue are from people living in Nevada. Only 43 percent of the PSLs are from Raiders fans living in the state.

 

Raiders President Marc Badain at a recent Las Vegas stadium board meeting.

 

California fans account for 29 percent of the PSLs. And those fans are from both northern and southern California. Do not underestimate the buying power of the Los Angeles area Raiders fans.

 

And the rest of the country and Mexico account for 28 percent of the PSLs. These PSLs, which will cost, on average, more than $3,800 a piece, will generate $250 million toward paying for the domed stadium.

 

Based on those geographic demos, the Raiders will be in a position to become the NFL’s team of the West — comparable in regional and national marketing firepower to the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys.

 

The Raiders are three years from playing in their new Las Vegas stadium, but their flag is already flying in Vegas.

 

The Raiders have their own issues to solve in Las Vegas for their stadium that is slated to open in 2020, such as finding another 13,000 parking spaces to meet county code and working out a deal with the Las Vegas community for a community benefits plan that will assure that there will be diversity in the contractors and businesses.

 

A regional team based in Las Vegas? I’m thinking Raiders more than Golden Knights.

 

Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com

Alan Snel

Alan Snel brings decades of sports-business reporting experience to LVSportsBiz.com.

Snel covered the business side of sports for the South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Tribune and Las Vegas Review-Journal. As a city hall beat reporter, Snel also covered stadium deals in Denver and Seattle.

In 2000, Snel launched a sport-business website for FoxSports.com called FoxSportsBiz.com.

After reporting sports-business for the RJ, Snel wrote hard-hitting stories on the Raiders stadium for the Desert Companion magazine in Las Vegas and The Nevada Independent.

Snel is also one of the top bicycle advocates in the country.

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