The city of Las Vegas has received plenty of disappointing news over the last few months, but perhaps luck is starting to turn around. On Wednesday, Las Vegas was chosen as a host site for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2023.
Vegas will host the West Regional during the upcoming season, and it will be the first time that the most popular tournament in sports comes to Sin City. The T-Mobile Arena will host the games, but this event will bring plenty of excitement and action to the entire city.
The NCAA has had a long history of keeping events out of places where sports betting is legal. That has all changed in the last few years though and with more states legalizing sports betting, the NCAA had to change its policy to allow events in these locations.
Indiana launched sports betting in September 2019, and the NCAA headquarters are based in the state capital of Indianapolis. Vegas has been hoping to get a chance to host the tournament, and several leaders in the NCAA have been trying to make that happen.
By hosting a regional, this means that Las Vegas will host Sweet 16 and Elight 8 games in 2023. Most cities have to host a first and second round weekend before they are chosen for a regional.
The Pac-12 Conference holds its annual conference tournament at the T-Mobile Arena, and the conference gave a strong recommendation to the NCAA. By awarding Las Vegas a regional, it will give the arena time to get things in place to host a bigger tourney just two weeks later.
Host cities are chosen based on a number of variables, and Las Vegas checks off all the boxes. There are plenty of hotels to house both teams and fans, and there are plenty of other entertainment options outside of the basketball games.
Fans Flock to the City
Sportsbooks and casinos in Las Vegas will be more than prepared in 2023, because they are traditionally flooded with an influx of gamblers during March Madness anyways. Up until sports betting took off throughout the country, Las Vegas was one of the few places to bet on the games.
Even for college basketball fans that don’t plan on betting on the games, sportsbooks often show all of the action on their large televisions. People flock to the city to gather with other fans of the same team, and enjoy the excitement and comradery of their schools during gameplay.
The Nevada sports betting industry was set to face some competition in 2020 for the first time in history, and industry experts were going to be taking a close look at the numbers. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s tournament for the first time in history.
In recent months, New Jersey has actually surpassed Nevada in sports betting handle and revenue, setting industry records in the process.
Basketball Not the Only Prize
Landing the Men’s Basketball Regional was a huge win for the city of Las Vegas, but the NCAA awarded Sin City a number of other championship events in the process. The NCAA announced 450 future championship sites on Wednesday, and Las Vegas actually received nine of those events.
The men’s golf regional in 2023 will be held at Bear’s Best in Las Vegas. One year later, the Spanish Trail Country Club will host a women’s golf regional.
T-Mobile Arena will also host the 2026 men’s division 1 hockey championship, also known as the Frozen Four. The Frozen Four is extremely popular and typically is a sell-out event each year.
Hockey has become extremely popular throughout Nevada after the Vegas Golden Knights became the first professional franchise in Sin City.