Many are speculating in the comments to the Marlins post this morning about where the Marlins might move if Miami falls through. The discussion thus far has focused on Las Vegas, as it often does when new potential Major League cities are mentioned.

For what it’s worth, I’ve often been dubious of Las Vegas as a big league city. Unlike football and boxing, baseball is not driven by big events. There are 10 times as many home games. Season ticket sales matter, and that’s all about attracting the locals who will come on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, not the folks who drive up from L.A. on the weekend. Moreover, you have to ask yourself who would put up the money for a stadium? Not the hotels or gaming companies, brother. Why would they build a place designed to draw upwards of 30-40,000 potential customers away from their casino floors 81 nights a year? The only way they’d even consider it is if you could put slots in the place, and while MLB has gotten more lenient with respect to gambling ties in baseball (e.g. lots of ballparks accept casino advertising now), I really can’t see the masters of the game allowing ballparks to turn into gaming parlors.

Another factor: a disproportionate number of Las Vegas’ working population works nights. The blackjack dealers, the restaurant workers, etc. Sure, many of the potential fans would be tourists, but if you’re going to make a case for Vegas, you’re going to have to make it on the size of the media market, and a big part of that population simply isn’t going to be at home to watch the broadcasts, let alone make it the ballpark.

I’m not saying Las Vegas is a non-starter, but given its unique demographics and economy, there are some major practical hurdles to consider. The solution: I say someone convince Paul Allen to build a stadium in Portland and call it a day.

WhoseWho’s got his number? (Thanks Grammar Police!)

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  1. Pete Toms said...

    I mentioned in the comments on the Marlins that I don’t there is the corporate base in Vegas either.  Don’t know if the mayor (can’t recall his name, he’s a former mob lawyer) could deliver a new stadium….he’s certainly keen to land a team, he was all over the winter meetings in Vegas this year promoting his city..

    What does happen if one or both of the FLA teams fail to get a new stadium?  Woolf’s attempts in Fremont are floundering, hello San Jose?  Is DC gonna stiff again?  Contraction failed….some interesting times ahead.

  2. Jim D said...

    Some suggestions for a ballpark in Vegas:

    1) Keno waitresses working the stadium.
    2) Seats outfitted for parimutuel betting.  Play the ponies during a pitching change.

  3. Ron said...

    If baseball did move into Vegas, wouldn’t it make them hypocritical to still keep Rose and the others on the restricted list?

    I mean, how can they take money from the biggest gambling enterprise on Earth, and exclude guys who bet?

  4. Pete Toms said...

    @ Ron, MLB has casino corporate sponsors, IIRC Milwaukee is the most recent…Liberty Media (Braves) is in the online gambling business…Marian Ilitch is in the casino business also….I think MLB could get past the gambling in Vegas.

  5. Joao said...

    And Vegas also doesn’t make sense from a demographic standpoint either.  The largest metropolitan area without an MLB team is Portland (with the 23rd largest Metro area in the country), followed by Sacramento (26th), Orlando (27th), San Antonio (28th), and then Vegas (30th).

  6. glenn said...

    SAN ANTONIO DAMMIT!  Take a real good look at San Antonio.  This area is just screaming for a big-time baseball or football franchise, so why not beat the NFL in and steal their thunder?

  7. Ponch said...

    My girlfriend and I spent a couple days driving around to thrift stores in Vegas.  This is a good way to really get a feel for a city.  I can say with high certainty that Vegas is a terrible city.  Aside from a few nice, whitey-white suburban-type lame areas, the whole city is a broken down cesspool of hookers, drugs and white trash.  I would go so far as to say it’s as nasty as any large city I have ever been in.  I just don’t understand the appeal, and I think MLB in Vegas makes about as much sense as me living in Vegas.  I am so sickened by that city in general that I don’t know if I will ever even check out the strip again, and I only live six hours away.

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