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How Has COVID Impacted Professional Sports In Nevada?

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John Locher/Associated Press

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden supervises practice last month at the team's facility in Henderson.

When the pandemic hit, sports in Nevada lost a lot when it came to games, fans, and ticket sales.  

Now, more than a year later how has the pandemic impacted local sports teams?

Sportswriter Alan Snel said closing events to the public took an emotional toll on both fans and teams, but that pall lifted along with COVID restrictions.

"When (fans) get inside a Golden Knights game, it's kind of a safe emotional place for them," said Snel, publisher of the LV Sports Biz website. And for the players, Snel told State of Nevada, they can absorb the "energy of the building."

That theory is going to be put to the test by the Las Vegas Aces, who sit atop the WNBA's Western Division and are gradually allowing more fans to see them play at the Arena at Mandalay Bay.

"The WNBA had the most severe protocol restrictions," Snel said, adding that only season ticket holders have been allowed in. Now the Aces are gearing up to host a July 14 exhibition between WNBA all-stars and the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team.

The pandemic did have a silver lining for the Las Vegas-based UFC, which saw pay-per-view revenues increase while people were stuck at home.

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UFC boss Dana White "actually made a lot of money by going to places outside of Las Vegas and Nevada," and avoiding coronavirus restrictions on sporting events, Snel said.

Snel also said this weekend's Garth Brooks concert at Allegiant Stadium will provide a test of how well fans can get in and out when the Raiders begin play there in mid-September 

"We will see the parking and traffic infrastructure and how it will hold up," Snel said.

He said he expects the Raiders to "be an incredible experience" when they take the field at the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium, particularly after playing last season in front of empty seats.

"I covered the eight home games without a single fan," Snel said, "and we're going to be going from zero fans to 65,000."

Guests

Alan Snel, sportswriter, LV Sports Biz  

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