The Mosconi Cup is the signature event of American and European pool. There have been some truly thrilling matches down the years, which have delighted spectators both at the events and on television. However, nothing quite beats being at the venue to witness the best in the business operate at the peak of their powers under the greatest of pressure.
The recent selection of Mandalay Bay for the past two tournaments in the United States has caught the eye, and has reinforced a trend that all the casinos in the city are becoming a sporting hub. Gambling has been the city’s main draw, which has seen millions of Americans flood to Sin City to indulge in poker, roulette and blackjack.
Tourists from all over the world are familiar with the casino games on offer in Las Vegas due to presence of online casinos. People have more access more than ever to these websites and apps to play poker online as well as blackjack and roulette. Websites and apps provide a thorough gaming experience to provide as close to the real thing as possible without actually being at the brick-and-mortar venue. Therefore, there’s an air of familiarity with these games before people travel to Sin City due to the games on offer such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Holidaymakers may then have more time on their hands rather than having to spend hours of their vacations getting to know the ropes inside the casinos.
As a result, both casinos and the local government have been looking at ways to capture the imagination of tourists in another fashion, and sport certainly fits the agenda. Vegas has committed to hosting top-class sporting events, becoming the home of boxing in the United States. The MGM Grand and the Bellagio have hosted premier fights. The city also landed a huge coup in securing an NFL franchise.
The Raiders became the first NFL team to play in Sin City, which one day could bring the Super Bowl to Las Vegas due to the expenditure on Allegiant Stadium, costing nearly $2bn. Hosting the Super Bowl is worth millions to a local economy on a normal situation, but combining it with the prospect of gambling on the strip and sports betting on the game itself – it could reach the hundreds of millions.
Building a core fanbase that is interested in returning to Vegas is important for the city and the hotels/casinos. The Mandalay Bay has been a hit hosting the Mosconi Cup for the past two events in the States. The ballroom was the stage for the event where tickets were priced from £51 to watch the action per session.
Given that the crowd were packed into tight quarters, with almost 3,000 spectators in attendance the atmosphere on both occasions was electric. It was a surprise considering the first tournament was a comfortable 11-4 triumph for Europe in 2017. However, the American response in 2019 brought out the best in the home support, as the USA successfully defended the Mosconi Cup with a strong performance in the singles led by Woodward. Mandalay Bay lived up to expectations and should get another shot at hosting in 2021.
However, it has other strings to its bow, including UFC and WWE have held events in the Mandalay Bay Event Center in recent years. The WNBA All-Star Game was played in the 12,000-seater arena in 2019, raising the possibility that NBA games or perhaps even a franchise could follow suit.
It’s an interesting time for the relationship between sports and Las Vegas. Mandalay Bay has proven a point with its hosting capabilities, matching their rivals for enjoyment. It may cause a switch in the business model of the entire city in the future