2020 was set up to be a big year for Las Vegas. The town, which has always been popularly known as the gaming and entertainment capital of the world, was going to finally establish itself as the sports capital of the world.
That’s huge for Las Vegas. Just a few years ago, the city got its first-ever professional sports team with the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights (VGK). VGK in their debut season made it all the way to the Stanley Cup, coming in second to the Washington Nationals.
The creation of Vegas’ own professional hockey team initiated the city’s path down to becoming a serious sport’s destination, one deserving of respect. That was further cemented at the top of this year when the Oakland Raiders officially became the Las Vegas Raiders.
Allegiant Stadium, the new $2 billion-dollar home stadium for the Raiders, is close to completing its near two-year construction at the end of July.
As if Vegas getting its first-ever professional football team wasn’t exciting enough, the city was named host of the 2020 NFL Draft for the first time ever, too. This was going to be the ideal way to announce the Las Vegas Raiders to the rest of the world.
However, that dream got cut short this year with the coronavirus pandemic going on. Instead of Las Vegas hosting the 2020 NFL Draft, it’s become a virtual-only event. With more people self-isolating at home, it’s actually broke records for becoming the most-watched draft in history.
Las Vegas Announced as 2022 NFL Draft Host
But while Vegas won’t get to throw the biggest party in the NFL Draft this year, fear not. It was recently announced that they will be the host city of the 2022 draft.
That’s certainly something to look forward to, and may even come as better timing as by then, we’ll get to see how a couple of seasons of the Las Vegas Raiders look like in the game.
The National Football League made the announcement on Thursday night, during the start of the 2020 NFL Draft.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell mistakenly made a small flub when he announced that Las Vegas would host the current 2020 draft, but swiftly corrected the statement to reflect the actual 2022 date.
Big Plans Were Put into Place for 2020 Vegas-Style Draft
Never one to be outdone, the party capital of the world had spectacular plans set into place for the 2020 NFL Draft.
One of the most impressive plans was a stage built along the Bellagio Fountains, for a red carpet-reveal of draft perspectives. Prospective players would have arrived at the stage by boat, making for an ‘only Vegas’ style entrance like never seen before.
Outside of that impressive stage, concerts and celebrations with high-profile celebrities were going to be scattered all throughout Draft week to make it an event Las Vegas and the rest of the world wouldn’t soon forget.
Luckily, plans for the 2022 NFL Draft will seemingly include many of the plans that were set for this year. The main stage will still be held at the Caesars Forum Convention Center, and the Bellagio Fountains talks are still in the works.
More announcements on the specifics of the event will be made in the upcoming months, so stay tuned for that.
All is Not Lost
But, these plans aren’t lost, except for in the meantime. Las Vegas will be ready to show itself in 2022, according to Goodell, who hopes the world will return to normal by then.
But, even it doesn’t, Las Vegas will make the splash it’s been destined to make in the sport’s world soon enough.
According to Chris Baldizan, senior vice president of entertainment and marketing for MGM Resorts, while the city is “extremely disappointed” for the project to not happen in Vegas this year, the publicly televised announcement for 2022 gives the city hope for what’s to come once we all get through this pandemic.
Baldizan has faith that the city will get through it and is happy that the NFL has this much confidence in Las Vegas to come back stronger in 2022.