The NBA is returning to Las Vegas. Temporarily.
Continuing in the city’s tradition of one-off sporting events — such as boxing title fights or the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2007 — and a knack for marketing, a one-night only preseason game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets will be Oct. 6 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, the Clippers announced Monday. It will open the NBA’s preseason and will be the first regular or preseason game on the Strip for the league. The game will be played at the casino’s events center, which seats 12,000.
Even though it’s preseason and stars such as Blake Griffin and Ty Lawson won’t get much run for their respective sides, it’s exactly the buzz the NBA would hope for to kick off its season, especially with Griffin’s high-wire act.
After the All-Star game came to Las Vegas, it seemed to start a drumbeat for a team in Sin City. While there’s been no new public news about Vegas getting its own side (team concerns in Seattle, Sacramento and Anaheim have taken the lion’s share of the NBA’s focus), it’s another hint at possibly putting the NBA brand in the desert and preparing the palette of the game for the taste of a team in the nation’s betting center. Vegas has become a de facto hoops destination in the summer what with the NBA’s Summer League stationed there July 13-22, in addition to myriad AAU and youth-level tournaments. The NBA has played preseason games at unusual venues before, including four outdoor games that all involved the Phoenix Suns: 1972 in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and 2008, 2009 and 2010 in Indian Wells, Calif.
Tickets go on sale on Saturday through Ticketmaster and Mandalay Bay, while Clippers’ season ticket-holders can snap them up starting tomorrow.
What do you think of the move?
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