The results of our weekly poll have arrived and a majority of the voters believes that the National Hockey League is the likeliest North American professional sports league to become the first with a team in Las Vegas.
The NHL received 42% of the votes, which could have been boosted by recent rumors suggesting that the league is considering expansion with Las Vegas among one of the cities being considered. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently dismissed those rumors, although he followed that up by saying that if it ever does happen, prospective owners would have to open their vaults to be considered. So he shoots down any talk of expansion and then follows that up with a “but”? Not very convincing, Mr. Bettman.
Meanwhile, the NBA came in second, receiving 33% of the votes. It probably would’ve been higher if we asked the question today because of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s recent comments saying that legal sports betting across the US is “inevitable”. The NBA Commish also made a surprising admission that the NBA will more than likely participate in the event sports betting becomes legal in other US states, particularly among those with existing NBA teams. Should that happen, the argument against Las Vegas getting an NBA team because sports betting is legal in Nevada becomes totally moot.
Coming in at a distant third with just 15% of the votes is the NFL. No surprise here either considering that expansion or relocation talks in the league these days starts and ends with Los Angeles. But even without the cloud of Hollywood hanging over these talks, there’s no chance NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell brings a team to Las Vegas. Put it this way: if LA isn’t an option, the NFL is more likely to put a team in London (London!!!) than Las Vegas.
Finally, Major League Baseball got 9% of the votes. Actually, 9% is too high for this league because there’s absolutely no chance MLB brings a team to Las Vegas. Can you imagine the backlash the league will face if that happens, especially with its well-chronicled history with sports betting? They’d be under even more pressure to lift the lifetime bans on the 1919 Chicago White Sox and Pete Rose and we know those things are never going to happen.