CBS- The NCAA announced on Wednesday that it has made more than 450 selections of future host sites for preliminary rounds and final sites of championship venues at the Division I, II and III levels, with the majority of the selections affecting events set to be held between 2022 and 2026. Among those locations include Las Vegas, which for the first time in more than three decades will play host to an NCAA-sanctioned event in the 2023 basketball regionals.
Vegas has long been considered taboo for the NCAA, but in the spring of 2019, the NCAA agreed to allow championships to be held in Sin City, culminating with the announcement Wednesday. It's a change in policy for the NCAA, as it previously prevented states with legal wagering from hosting championships. When Vegas hosts the 2023 Men's Basketball Regional, it will be the first time since 1991 that the state of Nevada will host a predetermined NCAA championship. Nevada will also host the Men's Frozen Four in 2026.
Few things here.
First, welcome to Earth Mr. Gavitt and the NCAA. Glad to have you join the rest of us.
As Jordie blogged yesterday, the announcement that the Frozen Four will take place there has got to be the first baby step in what is sure to be the first of many, and hopefully all, future Men's Bball Final Four tournaments to take place in the city of sin.
Hear me out here.
Since the moment the NFL did a complete 180 on gambling and announced the Raiders move, the first thing that popped in my head was how incredible the first Super Bowl Vegas hosts will be.
Sure if Covid isn't happening right now, Vegas is without a doubt the away game destination of every football fan in the country whose team plays the Raiders in LV. And it's most likely the best weekend of their year. And for good reason.
Vegas already has the perfect infrastructure that every other host city attempts to replicate (some to a pretty good extent, some not).
First, off we're talking an abundance of hotels.
No NFL or NCAA blocking off entire chains of hotels to put up their staff and sponsors in so you're stuck paying $600 a night to stay at a La Quinta Inn 45 minutes outside the city. Plenty of rooms and availability means plenty of options and plenty supply.
No hot-shot NY or Miami club groups coming into town and taking over a cowboy bar or warehouse, decking it out with their branding, and charging $10,000 cover charges to stand amongst 6 girls (hookers) and 2000 awkward guys who can't get drunk because there's 3 union bartenders in the entire place, they didn't upgrade to the VIP experience for an extra $10,000 or take out a second mortgage to get a table, and who can't hear themselves think because some "dj" has a premade mix running playing chainsaw trap music loud enough to wake the dead.
You've got a zillion clubs that are already top tier. A zillion bars of all sorts. World-class restaurants. Sportsbooks everywhere you look. Zip lines, roller coasters, ferris wheels, anything you could ask for.
Literally something for everyone.
Sure the pools aren't open in February or March, but you know what is?
I don't even need to explain why this is so important.
If you've been to a Final Four or Superbowl in another destination city, and you've visited a gentlemen's club, you already know that the "talent" flies in from all over the world to work that entire week.
Now that Vegas has the greatest football facility on the planet, with plenty of luxury boxes, and regular capacity, as well as an arena that fucks very hard (haven't got to go to a Knights game there yet, but want to really badly because it looks fuckin insane, but did go to a Justin Timberlake concert there and was blown away) you've got zero excuses. None.
Especially now that all sports leagues are not only looking the other way when it comes to sports gambling, but have fully embraced it and are finding ways to create new revenue streams from it.
(Sidebar- can you imagine being a fuckin bookie doing time in jail right now? The same state that put you away is now running their own operations. Talk about losing your mind)
Neither league is going to come right out and say they need to make Vegas their permanent location for the Final Four or SB. Plus they are incentivized to award it to other cities and teams that build new stadiums.
So that's not lost on me.
But making it an every other year thing shouldn't be out of the question.
p.s. - I went to the Indy Super Bowl when the Pats lost to Giants (Manningham prayer catch and Welker drop) and was amazed at what a good job the city of Indianpolis did putting everything together. Blew some of the bigger cities that have hosted that I also went to out of the water. Everything was centralized right downtown by the stadium. You could walk around the entire area with beers or open containers. Bars went super late. Could walk to everything. Hotel situation wasn't great but if you stayed outside downtown it didn't cost a fortune. So not saying smaller cities don't deserve it. Some of them do and do an awesome job with it. Just saying once you attend one in Vegas you'll never want to look back.