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Las Vegas aims to become a major league sports capital with 2022 NFL Draft, betting

Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer joins the Live show to discuss the 2022 NFL Draft as Las Vegas aims to become a major league sports capital.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, the city of Las Vegas is rolling out the red carpet for football fans tonight, hosting the first NFL Draft. The event marks a big coming-out party for the entertainment capital following years spent trying to lure the league. Let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer, who's got a big story out on this today. And Josh, this has been a very long journey for the NFL.

JOSH SCHAFER: Yeah, Akiko, it really has. And I spoke to the Las Vegas mayor about this, Carolyn Goodman. And she told me that this moment feels different than other events we've seen in Las Vegas, which, of course, when we're talking about Vegas, that's pretty big. And so the reason this feels so different is because the city-- it's going to be the next step into growing professional sports and building that Rolodex. She said the entertainment capital of the world now wants to be known as the major sports capital of the world.

So as sports gambling legalization has grown, the interest to be in Vegas has also followed. Events are coming along with the draft. The NFL held its Pro Bowl this year. The Super Bowl is coming in 2024. And Formula One is going to be taking over the Strip for a night in 2023.

It hasn't been just events either. Home teams are being added and stationed in Vegas. So from 1997 to 2017, there was only one mainstay. It was Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA. But that's changed recently. The NHL's Golden Knights started in Vegas in 2017 followed by the Raiders in 2020. And it seems like only a matter of time before the MLB and the NBA join Sin City as well.

So I asked the mayor, why now? Why are sports coming now? And she sort of chuckled, and she pointed to the sports books. And she said, it's because the gambling is legal, and people want to be in that area, Akiko.

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, and it's been such a pivot. Because if you think about why the NFL for so long was resistant to move into Vegas in a big way, it was because there wasn't a full embrace of sports betting. You talked about the other leagues that have already come to the city. What about the NBA what about Major League Baseball? I mean, how big is the market in Vegas for--

JOSH SCHAFER: I think it can be huge. So we heard at the end of March, Oak View Group is going to be building a $3 billion project off the strip. And the goal is basically to make it so you don't even have to go to the Strip. They're going to have a casino, a hotel, and a 20,000-seat stadium.

Well, what kind of sports seats 20,000 people? Professional basketball. So they're sort of flaunting that at the NBA. We actually had the Oak View Group CEO, Tim Leiweke, on with us on Yahoo Finance. And he said it's not a secret. They want the NBA to come. They built that stadium for the NBA.

So what we're going to see is they're going to have this stadium-- they're going to have some other events there, maybe college basketball, maybe a one-off NBA game, some Summer League, and prove to the league that it's a good idea. And then hopefully the NBA, really in probably the next couple of years, might end up moving one of the lower market teams there.

AKIKO FUJITA: So the natural question with so many of these professional leagues is, what is the market locally? But I thought it was interesting that you said Vegas is sort of framed in a different way because it's not just about the fan base they can build in the local market. It's about who they can bring in. If you've got a game in Vegas and you are a Warriors fan, let's say, you're going to make the trip because you know there are other entertainment offerings there.

JOSH SCHAFER: Right. And it's why the NFL Draft makes a ton of sense tonight-- because people can come from all over and flock to that. The Super Bowl in 2024 makes a bunch of sense because of that. And then I think you're going to see this as it being Las Vegas. Las Vegas is known for gambling. It's known for people coming for that long weekend.

But what if you can travel, see your team play, and then also gamble at the Bellagio, gamble at all these other-- Caesars Palace, gamble at those places, and have a full event, a full vacation? I think it's a good sell. So that's what these teams are betting on, is not only that they can have a home market-- the Golden Knights have been very successful there in the NHL-- but that they can also have those visitors come in and create that experience as well.

AKIKO FUJITA: You can just tick off all the boxes on your way to the game. I don't know about you, but my limit in Vegas is three days.

JOSH SCHAFER: Yeah, I think that's what most people's is, right?

AKIKO FUJITA: I don't think I could spend more time than that.

JOSH SCHAFER: And I think, basically, that's what they're aiming for, is the long weekend concept, especially with the NFL. The NFL plays on the weekends. I think the NBA is going to be a little bit harder when you have a Tuesday night game in Vegas. Maybe if you're in LA, you'll fly there. Or if you're in San Fran, as you mentioned, you can do one of those quick flights.

But the weeknight games in Vegas are going to be interesting. Do people travel there on a Wednesday? I don't think you go to Vegas on a Wednesday.

AKIKO FUJITA: I can think of a few people that would spend weekdays in Vegas. But it's going to be interesting to see the ramp up Josh, thanks so much for that.