Examining the Recent History of Sports in Las Vegas

Las Vegas has become quite the sports hub

Early history with the Las Vegas Aviators

Examining the Recent History of Sports in Las Vegas

Believe it or not, the first sports team to come to Las Vegas was the Aviators, who were a minor league baseball team that staked their claim in Sin City in 1983. Interestingly enough, they would manage to make the playoffs in two of their first three years of existence.

The Aviators would manage to win their first championship in 1986 after an 80-62 record. The team would win their final championship in 1988, where they pitched a shutout against the Albuquerque Dukes. They would then go on to defeat the Vancouver Canadians for the PCL title.

Now, the Aviators have a brand-new stadium near Red Rock Resort.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights

Examining the Recent History of Sports in Las Vegas

And then there s the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who became an NHL expansion team in 2017 and would go on to have a starting record similar to that of the Aviators. In fact, between touting a winning record in their inaugural season, and going all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before getting beaten 4-1 by the Washington Capitals, it was a first season to be remembered.

Fortunately for Las Vegas fans, the team’s luck continued. In 2018, the Knights made the playoffs again but got wiped out by the San Antonio Sharks in a seven-game series. While it was a grueling defeat for the new team, especially after missing out on the Stanley Cup just a year ago, it still set the tone for what the organization would be capable of in the future.

The Las Vegas Aces

Examining the Recent History of Sports in Las Vegas

Next, let’s take a look at the Las Vegas Aces, who came to Vegas in 2018 and has had some success of their own. In fact, the team made it to the finals in their fourth year as an organization.

Now, they didn t start out as a success like the Aviators and the Golden Knights did, but the organization post a pretty respectable record of 14-20 in their first year. In year two, 2019, however, the team would actually manage to qualify for the playoffs with a record of 21-13. They then defeated the Chicago Sky in one game in the semifinals before falling to the Washington Mystics.

And then they did the unthinkable! In 2020 the team, led by A Ja Wilson, Angel McCoughtry, and Dearica Hamby, soared to the finals with an 18-4 record. Unfortunately for the Aces, they would end up getting swept by the Seattle Storm, leaving a very sour taste in their mouths.

With that in mind, however, 2021 is off to a promising start. The Aces added some great weapons during the offseason. So it s literally just a matter of time before this team wins a title.

Other sports team in Las Vegas Nevada

Examining the Recent History of Sports in Las Vegas

There are a few other teams that call Las Vegas home, like the Las Vegas Royals and the Vegas Ballers. The Royals are from the American Basketball Association, which serves as a minor league team. The league was founded in 1999, but Vegas didn t get a minor league basketball team of its own until 2020. There are also the Vegas Ballers, which is a part of the Tarkanian Basketball league. Not much is known about this team, but they were founded in 2020 as well.

Basketball isn t the only minor league team that calls Las Vegas home though, as the Henderson Silver Knights, which is a professional hockey team, also plays in Sin City. They are a new team, and it will be interesting to see if they have the same kind of success as the Aviators, the Golden Knights, and the Aces, but who knows with such a new team?

Lastly, there is soccer team the Las Vegas Lights FC, which still stands as the worst team statistically in Las Vegas. The team hasn’t had a winning season in three years of existence and has not qualified for the playoffs yet.

#1 The Las Vegas Raiders and the future

Examining the Recent History of Sports in Las Vegas

Finally, let s talk about the newest kids on the block, the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders decided to relocate from Oakland, California to Las Vegas, Nevada to break in a new stadium and start a new legacy. Things didn t get off to a great start though, especially since the pandemic left the team unable to have fans at home games, but they did have a pretty promising start to the season.

Seriously though, the team went 6-4 in their first ten games, defeating the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in the process. The team went 2-4 in their last six games though, giving them a late-season implosion of epic proportions. This forced the Raiders to lose out on a playoff spot, making them one of the only Vegas teams to not make the playoffs in their first season in Vegas. Hopes are high that the Raiders improve next season. 

The Future

Believe it or not, there are rumblings of Sin City also getting its own MLB baseball team and an NBA team. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen, but it is pretty interesting to think about.

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