In this Sports Geek Throwback episode, Steve Pastorino from episode 229,  who was at the Las Vegas Lights FC and is now Director, Business Development at Blackhawk Network

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Sean Callanan Speaks

Key Takeaways

In this Sports Geek Throwback, Steve and Sean discussed the compelling theme of keeping the local community engaged and the early days of Las Vegas's transformation into a sports town.

  • The impact of community engagement for sports teams and events
  • The role of innovation in creating captivating experiences for fans
  • The unique challenges and opportunities of building sports culture in Las Vegas
  • The importance of multilingual communication in diverse communities
  • The advent of sports betting and its impact on the sports industry
This transcript has been lightly edited by AI

Sean: What do you think is a bit of myth busting involved because you ever thought as a tourist destination and headed people in. How do you get rusted on fans and season ticket holders and cheeks on the seats. What have you found so far that's been counted to that. How much has been the local community getting behind the teams and have you tapped into that tourist market?

Steve: Sure. Well as contrary to what many of my colleagues believe I do not live in a penthouse in the Bellagio or you know in Caesar's Palace. Yet we have subdivisions and neighborhoods and communities here and the lights are hyper focused on being the team for those of us that live work and play here in Las Vegas one hundred percent it's a locals play. We don't spend a penny trying to convince somebody on a Saturday night that a Lights' game is a better alternative than Celine Dion, Cirque du Soleil, Elton John or whoever is in residence here. The strip when everybody first thinks of Las Vegas can be a very expensive place to buy a ticket and be a very expensive place to park your car can be a very expensive place to buy a beer or a cocktail. And so with soccer we felt that with a 20 dollar average ticket price a six dollar beer price and five dollars to park we would have something that the families here who don't necessarily spend every waking moment at the craps table or you know attending one of these shows knew we'd have something for locals and one hundred percent we appeal to the two point three million people that live here in the Las Vegas Valley. And if there's a soccer purist who has seen our jersey, heard about our coach players dispensary partnership it doesn't matter that finds us. We love having them and we've had fans from around the globe visit us at Cashman Field and downtown Las Vegas. But we we can't compete against the Strip. So we don't even try.

Sean: And you did talk about that before bet that Vegas is transforming into a sports town. The Knights – the big success story there and the writers on the why do you think there's enough room for everybody to coexist in Las Vegas.

Steve: Absolutely. The Golden Knights for all of their success they have also developed a better reputation than on any given night 25, 30, 40 percent of the fanbase may be from out of town. And believe me if I lived in Edmonton, Canada and in February the Oilers were going to be playing in Las Vegas. I would take a long weekend and come down here. Fans are finding a year ago it was cheaper to fly from Toronto to Las Vegas stay two nights in a hotel and buy tickets on the secondary market than it was to buy two tickets for Toronto Maple Leafs game in the height of the season demand is so high for tickets particularly in some northern markets that historically performed very well in the NHL Minnesota, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto,etc. So there's plenty of room and when the Raiders come to town I think the same is going to apply to every American football fan who wants to see their team play in the latest billion dollar stadium that happens to be across the street from the strip in Las Vegas. So I've firmly held and said if anyone is asked and I think the Raiders are going to be a massive success because they only have to sell 10 events a year and they will have a 60000 person building to fill on an average weekend in Las Vegas every four days. Five hundred thousand tourists or business people come through the airport. Five hundred thousand people new people every Wednesday and every Saturday whatever the days of the week are. And you know this is like a you know this is the population of a midsized Midwestern city that is turning over every three days here in Las Vegas. So it's expensive to compete in the tourist industry. But there's plenty of business.

Steve: I think there's 25000 hotel rooms under construction right now in Las Vegas. That's more than a lot of cities have. That'll bring the base of the hotel rooms in this town to close to 200 thousand hotels or hotel rooms. So there's plenty of room. And again coming back to what we do at the Lights we're all about the folks that live here and can afford to and choose to bring their family out for entertainment soccer being the most popular game in the world makes it very easy to sell the product.

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Listen to full episode with Steve Pastorino