Stadiums and arenas have been open for months for fans to take in sports.
Las Vegas, this weekend, will be the meeting place for six different sports, hosting events in and around the city. In minor league baseball, The Aviators (Triple-A affiliate of Oakland) host the Oklahoma City Dodgers in a weekend series; the Lights FC play San Diego Loyal on Saturday; UFC 266 is on Saturday, headlined by Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega; the Golden Knights host San Jose in a preseason game on Sunday; NASCAR is in town, finishing up with SouthPoint 400 on Sunday; and the 2-0 Las Vegas Raiders are hosting the Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon.
The convergence of fans and crowds are a stark contrast for the franchises, the hospitality industry and a city which struggled mid-pandemic.
Jeremy Aguero, of Applied Analysis, works with gaming industry clients and the UFC providing economic analysis. Aguero said the impact goes far beyond the purchasing of tickets and concessions at the arenas and stadiums.
“I don’t want to minimize anything that happens at Allegiant Stadium or T-Mobile,” said Aguero to KLAS, a CBS station in Las Vegas. “Those things are fantastic and other communities would give their eye teeth to have those events in their backyard. But it doesn’t just stop there. People are staying the night, they’re gambling in our casinos or shopping in our stores and they’re eating in our restaurants.”
As the country still struggles with COVID-19, particularly the delta variant, the Las Vegas venues have differing guidelines and protocols.
Masks are required — unless actively eating or drinking — at UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, and the same for the NHL preseason game on Sunday. For baseball, fans are required to have a mask while occupying indoor spaces. Same for the NASCAR events during the weekend. The MLS match guidelines state “masks are now optional for fully vaccinated individuals,” but are still required for non-vaccinated fans — although proof of vaccination isn’t required. And for the Raiders game, proof of vaccination is required for fans 12 and over to enter Allegiant Stadium.
The state of Nevada requires masks to be worn indoors, including on Las Vegas casino floors.
At one point on Sunday, it is estimated around 200,000 fans will be in Las Vegas sports venues.