Is F1 Las Vegas GP’s Success a Major Sign for Adam Silver to Commence Sin City’s Own NBA Franchise?
A frowning Las Vegas turned into Sin City when F1 racers entertained on the track. Max Verstappen won the contest in one of the most enthusiastic and lively cities in the world. Vegas is the very embodiment of life, thrill, and blockbuster. The lights are always on and for these four nights, they were on the engineering genius automobiles that are F1 cars. A track in the middle of the city caused discord at first, upset to follow but the event ended within the spirit of Vegas – the entertainment capital of the world.
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The booming success of the F1 event has now created promise for the NBA. In the past few years, Adam Silver has teased the idea of expanding the league. Not to anyone’s surprise, the thriving Las Vegas is a hot spot for its very own NBA franchise. The WNBA has its presence with the Aces. Now it might be high time to realistically consider having an NBA team for one of the most happening cities on the planet. Especially after witnessing F1’s gamble to race through the middle of the city return major returns.
F1 turned things around in Las Vegas
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As a city Vegas welcomes everyone with open arms. It doesn’t discriminate for color, status, or any metric. The ecstatic vibe and plethora of experiences on offer make the place a tourist’s dreamland. It is probably the only city that can do both – give you wild, unforgettable nights and also accommodate the sophistication that is associated with the place.
For F1, it was their first-ever event as promoters. Las Vegas had to adjust mercilessly in the lead-up to the grand event. Locals endured the heavy traffic due to tracks being built. For them, it took away from the magic of the Sin City. They opposed the idea of holding a race within the city. When the lights finally came on and the stands filled up, a mechanical mishap emptied the crowds. It created further tension between organizers and the angered locals. There was one last act remaining, the main race after the qualifiers. It had to evoke excitement that would wake up Las Vegas. Somehow despite the odds, it did more.
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82 overtakes took place during the contest. Max Verstappen, Leclerc, and Perez all waded into their conquest to finish victorious. The noise of the tire wearing out, cars drifting and the gush of wind as the drivers speeded past left the crowd awestruck. Verstappen, the kingpin of modern racers lifted the trophy at the end. Despite the initial turmoil, F1 Las Vegas became a splendid success.
Las Vegas has heavy sports associations with the NHL, WNBA, NFL, and more teams representing the city. Watching the rise from afar, is it time for the NBA to migrate to Sin City?
Adam Silver has Las Vegas in sight and owners are all ready
Before the season, Silver was asked about a possible expansion. This was all in the midst of the NBA finalizing media deals and even introducing a new collective bargaining agreement. When questioned about the future growth of the league, Silver named two cities – Seattle and Las Vegas.
“There’s no doubt there’s enormous interest in Seattle,” he said.
Mending a TV rights deal that ends next April has occupied the management to even think of introducing new franchises. Yet the idea is floating in Silver’s head. Moreover, he even has a few honorable names who want to invest in a Las Vegas NBA team.
The most vocal of them all has probably been LeBron James. The future Hall of Famer has been vocal about his desire to one day own an NBA team, and Las Vegas is one of his preferred destinations. When speaking of owning a team James said,
“You have the [NFL’s] Raiders here, you have the [NHL’s Golden] Knights here, you have the [WNBA’s] Aces here, you’ve got F1 coming very soon, All-Star Weekend has been here a few times, you’ve got the NBA Summer League that’s very popular… I think adding an NBA franchise here would just add to the momentum that’s going on in this town… I think it’s only a matter of time. And I hope I’m part of that time,”
A new entrant in the race is Shaquille O’Neal. The ever-great center has a diverse investment portfolio scaling from food ventures to even car washes. His first attempt at taking NBA ownership was with the Orlando Magic. It being the team that drafted the LSU alumnus, Shaq shares a personal bond with the city and its people. For him, Orlando has always been home with him even having a mansion in the city. With those talks slowly dispersing, he recently set his eyes on Las Vegas. Previously, the Diesel said he wanted the team all for himself. However, he has now slightly changed his rigidity and welcomed a partnership with James.
“There’s ever an NBA team that’s going to come here, I would definitely like to be involved. With LeBron, without LeBron, I just want to be involved.” said the 7-footer.
Can the NBA have a Las Vegas franchise?
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It’s really not a question of if but rather when. Silver is in agreement, there is ownership interest and Las Vegas is a proven sports palace. Realistically, all Vegas is lacking is an NBA team of its own.
The league has affiliated with Sin City on numerous occasions. The NBA’s Summer League is famously held in Las Vegas. The 2023 campaign marked its 17th year. Additionally, the newly introduced In-Season Tournament will have its Semi-Finals and Finals in Vegas as well.
The enthralling city hosts two arenas – Thomas and Mark Center, and the Cox Pavillion. The infrastructure is all there. The NBA often chooses Las Vegas for its big events. Now all that is remaining is for an owner or a group to claim the land and foster a franchise.
It’s a no-brainer that the NBA will benefit from a Las Vegas partnership. From odds to sports craze, Las Vegas is always roaring. The city never sleeps and sports is an occasion that attracts the biggest of stars. Some of the most iconic sporting events have been held in Las Vegas – Mayweather vs Pacquiao, Raiders games, 2007 NBA All-Star and so much more. It is the perfect destination to have the NBA’s action-packed and mesmerizing battles.
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There is no bigger market and there is probably no bigger place than Vegas to host a new team.