After years of shunning Las Vegas — banning its commercials from Super Bowl broadcasts and generally wagging a big old finger at the casino industry — the National Football League is doubling down on Sin City.
The Oakland Raiders will move to the desert for their first season as the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, and this month, the league announced that it would hold the 2020 NFL Draft in the city.
"I think it's a testament to the vision of Sheldon Adelson and Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, who saw that bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas was more than just 10 football games a year," said Raiders owner Mark Davis during the NFL's press conference. "That when you bring the National Football League somewhere, you get a lot of ancillary benefits, and the draft is one of them."
According to a report compiled by VisitDallas, the 2018 NFL Draft, held in April at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, had an economic impact of more than $125 million over its three days and attracted a record crowd of more than 100,000 on opening day. About 60% of those in attendance flew to the region for the event.
In 2019, the draft will take place in Nashville, and then it's Las Vegas' turn.
"The eyes of football fans from around the world will be on Las Vegas in 2020," said Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill.