April 3rd marks Opening Day for America's favorite pastime, Major League Baseball. It's a time where fans across Las Vegas begin to root on their respective baseball clubs, so whether you're a diehard fan of the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, Red Sox, Yankees, or other MLB franchise; it's a day to celebrate the return of the baseball season.
The diversity amongst fan bases in Las Vegas is vast, but with the addition of the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the relocation of the Oakland Raiders being approved for 2019, it's time to ask whether Las Vegas is prime for its own MLB franchise?
The MLB currently sits at 30 teams and outside of the NHL, professional organizations have resisted the urge to expand over the past decade. That leaves relocation as the most likely option for Las Vegas to land an MLB team.
The Oakland Raiders found Las Vegas to be a prime location for their franchise for several reasons; most notably the lack of state tax and the availability of public funding. Both would be very attractive to MLB teams such as the San Diego Padres or Oakland Athletics. Small market teams try to cut payroll to increase revenue, so leaving California for Nevada would allow them to pocket additional money in saved tax funds.
The question becomes can the Las Vegas market fill a stadium for 82 games a year? That's a chance will have to take with blind faith, but there's been plenty examples to provided optimism. The Chicago Cubs have made it a habit of playing their final Spring Training games at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. The games have had little trouble selling out and have become a staple for fans of the MLB.
The ability to sell professional games to an audience on a consistent basis relies heavily on location and climate. With multiple sites proposed for the Raiders' stadium on the intersection of Russell Road and Las Vegas Boulevard, it'll theoretically leave the non-selected site open for a possible MLB stadium on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. That allows for easy access to not only local fans but those traveling in to see their respective teams or on a simple vacation.
The weather, which has been a problem in some areas for opening day 2017, is another huge benefit when considering a move to Las Vegas. While the summers are often uncomfortably hot, the spring and fall games would be played in near-perfect temperatures.
For now, this is mere speculation but it's hard to ignore the fact that Las Vegas provides many benefits for an MLB franchise. If you would've told a Las Vegas resident five years ago that the city would have both an NHL and NFL team by 2020 they'd struggle greatly to believe you and possibly recommend a CAT scan.
That is why it's important to keep an eye out for the trends in sports and right now Las Vegas is the "it" city for teams looking to revamp their franchise.