According to the most recent estimates by the US Census Bureau, the Las Vegas metropolitan area has a population of about 1,800,000 residents. Many metropolitan areas throughout the United States with similar or smaller populations have one or two Big Four (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) professional sports franchises located in the region; I won't name them. Las Vegas is the largest US metropolitan area without a major league sports franchise, or even what could be considered a prominent or popular collegiate sports presence.
There have been previous attempts to bring pro sports to Las Vegas. One of the most recent was the Las Vegas Posse, a Canadian Football League expansion team. The franchise was perhaps the least successful of any contemporary professional sports franchise; they finished their lone 1994 season 5-13, with an average attendance of 8,953, even with tickets priced at $9 a seat. Future attempts to site professional sports teams in Las Vegas, usually from upstart leagues such as the XFL, have been failures.
Several reasons are often cited for the failure of professional sports in Las Vegas. The presence of professional gambling, with fear of game fixing, is supposedly the major reason the Big Four never considered Las Vegas in previous expansion efforts. Other reasons cited include:
* Transient population with few natives: most residents have allegiances to their hometown teams.
* Small television market: virtually no population for hundreds of miles/kilometers around the city.
* Brutal summer weather would make baseball or football difficult.
* Too much competition for entertainment dollars.
What say you, Cyburbians? Could Las Vegas support a Big Four sports franchise?