NFL Owners Are Singing Viva Las Vegas

The only thing missing is Elvis.

This is a quiet time for the National Football League. The league is two weeks removed from the Super Bowl and there is still a week before the Scouting Combine starts. The Scouting Combine is really the start of the 2020 season as selected college players travel to Indianapolis to be questioned, physical probed by doctors, put on t-shirts and shorts and then run, lift weights and do whatever else NFL player personal wants of them. People actually care about a prospect lifting weights and watch it on TV. But there is another side that the NFL business people are preparing for. The NFL Draft show and it is now a television production. The NFL Draft is in Las Vegas and it will serve as the kickoff for the former Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders franchise officially calling Las Vegas home. It will probably come complete with showgirls, and big names hanging around.

It is quite a turn around for the NFL in embracing Las Vegas. Of course, the NFL and Raiders owner Mark Davis got at least $750 million in public subsidies for a stadium that will house the Davis Raiders. The turnaround is this. The NFL wanted no part of Las Vegas because of legalized sports gambling. In 2013, the National Football League told Disney/ABC that it could not run a Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority ad. The NFL in those days had a clause in its television partnership contracts that prohibited gambling-related advertising. The ad did not mention gambling. The NFL during the same time period took Southwest Airlines money with the commercials talking about going to Las Vegas. The spots had a tagline, ”The less you blow on air fare, more you can blow in Vegas.” The NFL was anti-sports gambling then. Now the NFL makes money from gambling and Las Vegas is fine.