Las Vegas isn’t just a cushy vacation destination with casinos, wedding chapels and residency performances — over the past few years it has become a full-fledged sports city.
As evidenced by Saturday’s 2023 Formula One World Championship on the newly constructed Las Vegas Strip Circuit, sports organizations and fans are flocking to Sin City.
This weekend’s Grand Prix, which will feature the sport’s top athletes in reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen and seven-time world champ Lewis Hamilton, continues to raise Las Vegas’ position as one of the country’s premier sports cities.
Read more: Will F1’s $500 million Las Vegas GP live up to the hype?
Here’s how the city rose to its current status — and a peek at what’s next.
Las Vegas welcomed its first professional sports team when the NHL expanded to 31 teams with the creation of the Golden Knights. Before their first year, owner Bill Foley set lofty expectations for the team to reach the playoffs within three years and win the Stanley Cup within six.
The Knights saw immediate success in their inaugural season and advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, where they were defeated by the Washington Capitals in five games.
Six years since its creation, Vegas has won three divisional championships, two conference championships and the 2023 Stanley Cup.
The Aces, a WNBA franchise previously affiliated with the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs, relocated to the city in 2018.
After finishing ninth in their first season, the Aces have made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons with four first-place conference finishes. In 2022, the Aces won the franchise’s first championship and the first professional sports championship for Las Vegas. Led by two-time WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson, they became the WNBA’s first back-to-back champions in over two decades with a victory in the 2023 WNBA Finals.
Maxx Crosby praises new Raiders coach Antonio Pierce to Pat McAfee
Maxx Crosby explains to Pat McAfee why he was so happy with Antonio Pierce as the Raiders head coach.
After back-and-forth stints in their founding city of Oakland and Los Angeles, the Raiders settled in the desert.
The Raiders’ best season since moving was in 2021, where they finished 10-7 and made the playoffs as a wild card. Although they haven’t seen the success of their aforementioned counterparts, the Raiders seem to be trending upward under interim head coach Antonio Pierce.
Major League Baseball is slated to be the city’s next athletic acquisition.
Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously for the A’s to move to Las Vegas, laying the foundation for what would be MLB’s first team relocation since the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals in 2005.
Details surrounding the team’s relocation plans have yet to be announced, but its lease with the Oakland Coliseum expires after the 2024 season and a stadium located on The Strip in Las Vegas is projected to be built by 2028.