As we close out this year, you have to agree that this was one epic year for Las Vegas! For all the things that happened as well as all the things that didn’t happen. The big news, the sad news and the other weird shit that only happens in Las Vegas! 2017 was a memorable year for Las Vegas Tourism.
I want to focus on the stuff that many of the Vegas naysayers said could never happen, but did in 2017.
Who Would Have Ever Thought?
All those armchair professors who screamed from the rafters that Vegas would NEVER get an NHL team. Not only did we get an NHL team, we got a team that came out kicking and haven’t shown any signs of slowing down their first season out.
- First team in 100 years to start life in the NHL 5-1
- The Golden Knights have scored four or more goals 17 times in their first 32 games
- At 26-9-2, the Golden Knights have the NHL’s fifth-best record
- First team to win six straight games in their inaugural season
NFL Got a Clue in 2017
Remember all those years the NFL kept telling the fine people of Las Vegas to go screw ourselves, they will never let us get an NFL team? Yea. They kept telling us that we needed to clean up our act and get civilized before they would even consider granting us an opportunity to beg to be considered for a such a prized possession as an NFL team in our valley! Yea. Wonder how that crow is tasting today??
The National Football League (NFL) got their butts handed to them in 2017 in so many deliciously different ways. I just like the fact that their sports rival, the NHL, beat them to the Fort Knox of professional sports, Las Vegas. Watching the NFL Gods back peddled on their words about Las Vegas and decided maybe it was time to call a truce to the feud with the city and grant us a team.
Not that we ever needed a team here to get a badly needed stadium, but having an NFL team helped push the most corruption filled stadium deal thru the legal and financial hoops needed to finally get built.
So they gave us one of the worst teams in the league, at least now we can say we have an NFL team. We still can’t use the words “Super Bowl” for the Big Game parties held in the resorts, but we have a NFL team.
We Finally Get the Big Domed Stadium
Something Las Vegas has been needing for the last 20 years finally happened. We get a big domed stadium opening in 2020. Sixty thousand seats of convention, big concert, and sporting paradise goodness all next to the Strip and close enough to support one of the most underrated college football teams in the nation. All it took was a few Strip rivalries to butt heads and a few news articles to show that the LVCVA is indeed a slush fund for the MGM and since the stadium deal was not an MGM idea, it was doomed from the start.
Finally, when Steve Wynn finally broke his silence and spoke in favor of the stadium, all things changed and suddenly MGM was all for the stadium deal to be done. So another “It will never happen in Vegas” deal got done and we have a stadium being built. With it comes a title that no other city will hold or want to hold.:
Las Vegas can claim that they have “The Worst publicly financed sports stadium deal ever!!”
The Big Blue Silo is Sold and is Staying
What went from a developer’s $3 billion dream resort to being the Strips monument to excess and exploitation during the big boom and a bankrupt eyesore, has found a new owner who wants to finish the project off. Of course, I am talking about the Fontainebleau Project!
Carl Icahn purchased the mothballed big blue silo for a bargain price of $150 million in 2010. He sold it recently to New York developer for $600 million. Too much money spent to turn it into scrap metal and now with the Vegas economy growing again, it was announced the new owners plan to get busy finishing the place off and opening it. Maybe a giant Motel 6??
NASCAR Times Two!
I have always said that Vegas loves NASCAR and NASCAR loves Vegas. The money that people pump into Las Vegas during the Spring race is too much to ignore. We have been praying for a second race, but like always, too many people kept saying we can’t have one. Its too short of a season and a second race would have to be raced in the hottest part of summer. Nobody would want to attend NASCAR in Vegas in the summer. Yea, right. How about a night race like they do for the NASCAR Truck series here? Well, NASCAR and the track owners said “Great Idea” and they gave us a second fall race at night! September 14,15 and 16.
The Taxicab Mafia is Defeated
For over 50 years, three families ran the transportation industry in this town. They wrote the rules, granted or denied licenses. They supervised the legal enforcement of their rules and governed who could and could not work in the business. Not only that, they told the State and local governments how it was going to be, no questions asked. Nobody dares challenge the Las Vegas Taxicab Mafia!
2017 will be the year that historians will say that the Taxicab Mafia put up the white flag of defeat. They fought a hard, costly battle, called in all their political favors owed and still could not defeat two well-financed companies who decided it was time to end their rule over Las Vegas transportation. To say they were in a panic would be an understatement. Being defeated and surrendering is two different things apparently. The taxicab mafia still sends out news releases telling of their wonderful upgrades and changes to their aging fleets. The new technology they adapted and how wonderful they are to work with. In reality, they have since closed or cut back operations, layed off staff and started to be nicer to their remaining drivers. Not to mention that they had absolutely no say in the newly proposed expansion of the Las Vegas Monorail. All signs of defeat. The taxicab mafia lost, the Las Vegas tourist won!
At this rate, 2018 should be an amazing year from the start!
So as we close out 2017, raise a glass of something special with someone you love, cheer that you were one of the believers and make a toast to a more entertaining and adventurous 2018!
Happy New Year Everyone
From The Vegas Tourist!