WNBA Aces Still Finding Their Place In Newly Crowded Vegas Market
The WNBA Las Vegas Aces are as "fine a test model as the town has" for whether the market will "support professional sports," according to Ed Graney of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The team features the past two years' No. 1 overall draft picks in G Kelsey Plum and C A'ja Wilson, as well as this year's No. 1 overall pick, G Jackie Young. The Aces today also traded for Dallas Wings C Liz Cambage. However, whether "any or all of it will increase the city's support of the team continues to be a challenge for the WNBA and its players." The Aces "ranked ninth in the league last season" with an average of 5,208 fans per game, while going 14-20 and playing home games out of Mandalay Bay Events Center. Still, "carving a niche takes time." The addition of Cambage increases the "on-court interest, because the Aces with her could go from a team hoping to make the playoffs to one that could win a championship." However, it "takes more than that" to find a place in the crowded Las Vegas market. Dedicated "doesn't begin to describe Golden Knights fans" and the NFL is coming to town with the Raiders next year. Meanwhile, "sellouts have defined the new Las Vegas Ballpark" for the Triple-A PCL Las Vegas Aviators and even USL club Las Vegas Lights have "created a fairly loyal soccer fan base" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/15).
TWO SHOWS, ONE TICKET: In Las Vegas, Alan Snel noted the Aces' in-game presentation is being "fine-tuned and juiced up with more LED lights and in-arena cameras" in order to "draw more fans" to the newly renovated arena. Aces Game Presentation Manager Blake Broaddus said that the number of "intelligent lighting devices has been doubled and the in-house cameras have increased from three to five." Broaddus added that the Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group acts will "perform at some halftimes, while local performers will fill 90-second sports during breaks in the action" (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 5/14).