Door Now Open For Las Vegas To Host College Basketball And Football Championships

Written By Marc Meltzer on May 18, 2018 - Last Updated on May 22, 2018
Las Vegas NCAA

That was quick. A month ago we wondered “Will Las Vegas Ever Host a Major College Sports Championship?” Well, the answer to that may be sooner than later. Shortly after the Supreme Court of the United States announced states can legalize sports betting, the NCAA reversed their position on allowing championship sports events to take place in states with gambling. Here’s the timeline:

  • Monday: Supreme Court overturns PASPA and states can now legalize sports betting
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: Speculation
  • Thursday: The NCAA flips on live events will now allow championships in states that permit sports wagering

The entire sports landscape changed on Monday when the Supreme Court decided to allow states legalize gambling if a federal framework does not come together. This is much larger than letting people gamble on sports around the country. The entire sports industry was flipped on its head.

Mergers and acquisitions of various companies related to sports have already started and will continue moving forward. Mainstream sports media companies are scrambling to figure out how to add sports gambling to their content. It’s amazing to see how much business of sports and live events are affected by one simple Supreme Court Ruling.

NCAA Championship Tournaments

This week the NCAA announced that they will temporarily allow championship tournaments in states that permit sports wagering on single games. It seems as though this has been around forever but this statute has been around since 2009.

Ironically, the NCAA doesn’t have a problem with pre-season, postseason, and standalone games being played in states that offer single-game wagering. Well, the change of opinion opens the entire state of Nevada up to host NCAA championship events. College championship sports that would draw an audience in Las Vegas include:

  • Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournament Games and Final Four
  • College Football Playoff
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Swimming and Diving

Obviously, football and basketball are the big money makers but a city like Las Vegas can host any event. You’d be surprised how popular the annual curling event played at the Orleans is. Las Vegas would be a great host for the 2024 College Football Playoffs if the NCAA is looking for a city.

More March Madness

The potential for Nevada to host NCAA tournament games could increase if there’s a need for more venues. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is planning a proposal to the NCAA that would expand the NCAA tournament field from 68 to 72 teams.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford mentioned the idea of having two different regional sites for so-called play in or First Four games during their spring meeting. There’s no reason that these games couldn’t take place in either Las Vegas, Reno or countless other cities in states looking to legalize sports betting.

Las Vegas may not want or need opening round games but should be eager to host the Sweet 16, Elite 8 or Final Four when the NCAA is ready to add new sites.

Also read: Regional Sports Betting Will Look Very Different Than Las Vegas

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Marc Meltzer

Marc Meltzer grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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