Phoenix Coyotes Should Move to Las Vegas: Bring NHL to Sin City

Phoenix Coyotes Should Move to Las Vegas: Bring NHL to Sin CityPhoenix Coyotes ownership problems will likely move the struggling Coyotes organization out of Arizona. Currently, several cities are lobbying the NHL for a team. Now that the Coyotes have officially been eliminated from the 2011 NHL Playoffs, talks about the Coyotes can once again focus on where the team might be headed. Nordiques Nation continues to orchestrate road trips across the NHL in hopes of rousing support to bring a team to Quebec City. The Winnipeg Jets, former home of the Coyotes, are also lobbying for a team. Do these cities really deserve a second chance with the NHL? Despite their struggles to create a following, average attendance numbers up until 2009-2010 rivaled Nordiques attendance averages before the move in 1995.

I understand how much Canada loves their hockey. I know that giving our little sister to the north another team would likely result in fine attendance numbers. However, there is a city not far from Phoenix that is more desperate for a major sports team than any other city in the world: Las Vegas.

Sin City would be the perfect home for the Coyotes. The city of Las Vegas has been begging for a major sports team for years. An NHL team would be a perfect fit.

The knock on NHL teams like the Thrashers and the Coyotes is that the NHL is shoving hockey down the throats of unwilling southern US states. It’s true, because of the weather and culture, that hockey is a very difficult sell in places like Atlanta and Phoenix. There would be no reason to worry about that kind of difficulty in Las Vegas.

If Vegas hopes to one day land an NFL football team, an NHL team could be the perfect first step. They would prove their attendance capabilities and quiet concerns that there aren’t enough indigenous Las Vegas citizens to support a professional sports team. If the city took to an NHL team, they could surely support baseball and football teams in the future as well. Moving the Coyotes to Las Vegas could result in an incredible amount of profitability and develop a new sports market. Attendance would not be an issue; Las Vegas would know exactly how great an opportunity it could be.

Imagine: a city in the US that would be grateful to have an NHL hockey franchise.

Even more, imagine the marketing possibilities. Goals scored from the slot could result in free plays at a local casino on your favorite slot machine. Sure, gambling is a concern for any professional sport, but they’re betting on hockey in Las Vegas anyway. The attendance numbers would be through the roof, merchandise sales through Las Vegas tourism would boost NHL revenues, and people would actually care (or at least pretend to care) about hockey.

I say let’s bring the NHL to sin city.

Mark Donatiello
Follow me on Twitter:  @FasterHockey more


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