How do I know hockey in Vegas is going to be a huge success? The fans are already fighting at T-Mobile Arena and they’re fighting Ducks fans, their own fans, anyone who will fight. We’re talking about a team that’s a point away (Tampa 83) from having the most points in the NHL. We’re talking about a team that is averaging about 18,000 a game.
There were pundits who said hockey would die in the desert. That there was no way it would survive on the Strip where the transients who are in town for a couple days to get bombed wouldn’t care about hockey. Well, it’s the locals who care and they care so much that they’re throwing punches at Ducks fans in February.
This is from a 2016 Eli Segall editorial in the Las Vegas Sun:
As a business reporter, though, I look at a Las Vegas NHL team through another lens, and two main questions linger for me: As other people wonder, will locals buy tickets in droves? And how many tourists will want to spend a night watching hockey here?
Hockey is far less popular than other sports nationally, and according to federal data, 30 percent of the valley’s workforce is in leisure and hospitality. Many of them work nights, when NHL games are played.
Moreover, the Strip already is packed with entertainment options, and visitors flock to Sin City to do things they can’t do at home.
Will the novelty wear off if the team isn’t winning? Probably a little bit, but by the look of things the locals are officially in on hockey. All I needed to see were the locals dropping gloves.