From Silver State to Silver-and-Black State

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Pictured above: The Oakland Raiders‘ logo covering several stadium seats in team pride.

First we have the possibility of our very own hockey team, and now the mold is breaking just a little bit more! Las Vegas might get a NFL team to call our own – the Oakland Raiders.

Mark Davis, the owner of the Raiders, has expressed vague interest in the past about bringing his team to Sin City, but a deal has never made it to the table. Now, in a sudden push potentially spurred on by the mounting likelihood of having a professional hockey team, the terms and conditions for a move have been laid out. For the most part, everything lines up… Except the fact that there’s no stadium currently built for a professional NFL team in Las Vegas.

Davis met with the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee today to discuss the potential team move, and his push for it was so strong that Davis offered up $500 million to go towards a new stadium, provided that the public offers up the remaining $900 million.

Talks have also floated around since the beginning of this year of sharing some stadium space with the Rams in Los Angeles, but with the Chargers also gunning for a spot in LA, it seems more likely that the Raiders would want to fly solo and land in Vegas.

 

Happy Earth Day! How Vegas Is Going Green

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Pictured above: The eco-friendly T-Mobile Arena.

Today marks the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, a nationwide movement towards global environmental awareness, and Las Vegas has come quite a long way in those 46 years. Many cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego are renowned for their health-conscious, eco-friendly culture, but Las Vegas has been catching up in recent years.

Aside from the wave of organic, fresh pressed, gluten free, and vegan restaurants popping up in Vegas, a concerted effort has been made to not only eat healthy, but make sure the earth is healthy as well. Local hotspots such as the Container Park, located in the heart of Downtown, is making a statement with their recycled structure, art pieces made from reclaimed wood and old metal, and composting trash system, and the wave has spread to the Strip.

Most recently, news headlines have been flooded with stories about MGM’s The Park, an outside oasis with natural desert smart-scaping, locally sourced building materials, and a water smart irrigation system provided by an on-site well. Located directly next to this outdoor attraction is the all-new T-Mobile Arena, a massive luxury structure designed to hold 20,000 eager sports and performance fans.

The T-Mobile Arena is not only luxurious, it’s green. Not literally, as you can see from the picture above, but figuratively: a LEED golden-certified facility, they lead through the ‘green advantage’ in Vegas with their recycled-material seats and sustainable and energy-efficient design.

It’s expected that more and more casinos will begin transferring their old-school ways into a more earth-conscious, eco-friendly approach. What do you think will be the next green change?

The Flight of McGregor (Maybe)

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Pictured above: UFC‘s Irish legend, Conor McGregor.

150,000 retweets shot around the web within hours about a single short message sent by UFC‘s current golden boy, Conor McGregor, on April 19th. In a shockingly blunt and unexpected tweet, McGregor announced to his fan base that he was retiring young… And dropped out of his upcoming fight, UFC 200 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 9th, within only a few hours.

A few people took the retirement tweet as a joke, saying that Conor’s notoriously dark sense of humor was what prompted the abrupt retirement tweet, and that it would be taken back with a short apology within a few hours. When this didn’t happen, and McGregor’s promoter instead confirmed that it was true and McGregor would be retiring, the disbelievers turned to a simple question: “Why?”

The question of why would UFC‘s famous fighter quit so suddenly isn’t something that’s answered quickly, but a big part of McGregor’s fan base seems to think it could have something to do with him being ringside at the tragic passing of Joao Carvalho, whose opponent was McGregor’s gym-mate, Charlie Ward. Watching a man die from injuries sustained during what McGregor does for a living would undoubtedly have a sobering effect on the outlook he has on his career.

McGregor hasn’t come out and announced the official reason for his retirement, but he has always prided himself on sticking to his word. For now, we can expect to see different fighters at the upcoming UFC 200, and only hope to see McGregor in the ring again in the distant future.

UPDATE: Conor McGregor has announced that he’s back in the UFC world, despite his previous retirement statement. However, the president of UFC, Dana White, has already pulled him from the upcoming UFC 200, and the jury is still out on whether or not McGregor will be allowed to fight.

Runnin’ Away From the Rebels

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Pictured above: The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels during the 2015 season.

Despite all the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, we sure have some pride for our local teams. Our local community college, UNLV, has multiple sports teams that garner attention in their own way, but lately the Runnin’ Rebels basketball team has made headlines with their coaching situation.

The natural course of all sports is that you will have ups and downs that vary each season. The Runnin’ Rebels have had a few downs lately, and were just beginning to look up at a new prospect for success: a fresh coach. The sun shined down on them when Chris Beard, one of the hottest names in college basketball coaching after his Arkansas-Little Rock team destroyed Purdue in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, stepped up to the plate. Beard was a hot commodity after working his way up from his assistant coach position in the ABA and a few Division II jobs, and the timing was perfect since UNLV let go of their head coach, Dave Rice, in early 2016.

Rumors were whispered on the campus for a few months before the news dropped that UNLV had hired Beard to be their main coach. It seemed like a great move to cement the team into an all-star roster – they’d need the stability since players were flying off the court. Only 4 players from the current roster will be moving into the next season, with everyone else either leaving for NBA drafts, graduation, or transfers.

The season looked bright, and everyone in Vegas was excited for the season to begin… But in early April, Beard announced that he may be considering cancelling his UNLV contract and heading over to Texas Tech. It’s a move that makes sense from a financial standpoint, as well as personal (his three daughters are in Texas). If Beard was to bail, UNLV would receive a $1 million buyout for the contract breach and rather hefty hassle of finding a new coach this late in the game. The buyout cost wouldn’t be too big of a hurdle for Beard, considering that his potential contract with Texas Tech would pay almost double what he would earn at UNLV, but it would also serve as little consolation to a team that’s had so much turmoil already in 2016.

We’ll find out on tomorrow what decision has been reached, but how do you feel about the chance of him moving less than a month on the job?

The Big Boom – Goodbye to the Riviera

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Vegas has always been an evolving city; where other large cities such as New York or Chicago honor their old buildings and take care in renovating them, Vegas has always been about the shiny neon, flashing lights, and boldest architectural moves that can be taken without being too gaudy. As a result of the mindset of ‘out with the old, in with the new’, buildings aren’t renovated, and are instead imploded (usually live on television) to be completely rebuilt as the newest, shiniest attraction.

Pictured above is the old Aladdin Casino, one of the 15+ casinos and hotels that have been erased from Vegas‘ history with a few well-placed stick of dynamite. Most casinos and hotels, when imploded, are quickly replaced with something new – like the former Boardwalk, which is now part of the high-fashion CityCenter project – a move that makes sense when you consider how incredibly valuable land is on the Las Vegas Strip.

The latest on Las Vegas‘ line up of kabooms is the Riviera hotel, a landmark of Vegas history. The Riviera opened it’s doors in 1955, and was the first high-rise resort in Las Vegas. Liberace himself cut the red tape, and became the first (and most profitable) resident performer.

Unfortunately, the Riviera had too many hotel rooms for what Vegas needed at the time and they went bankrupt just three months after opening. The casino was then taken over by a few managers at the Flamingo Hotel down the street, a move that was largely rumored to be a mob power play. As time went on, the mob rumors got louder and louder as the entertainment director was outed as the mob informant Willie Bioff, which led to his murder.

Despite it’s rocky start, the Riviera did phenomenally financially through the decades leading up to the late 2000s. Their performers were top-tier, even following Liberace’s passing. Included in their show roster was the risque show Crazy Girls, which ran for decades before being memorialized in bronze and moving to a more central casino location. The Riviera did a killing in comedy, magic, and talent acts, including Tom Green, Steve-O, Jan Rouven, and Frank Marino, and they had a monopoly in the pocket billiards competition world.

Despite their success, Vegas‘ curse of having to constantly stay fresh pushed the Riviera to the brink financially. In 2010, the Riviera surprised the valley by filing for bankruptcy, and it was only a few years until the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority purchased the building and land for a whopping $182.5 million.

It was just announced this week that the Riviera will be torn down in August, but there is no announcement yet about what’s planned to take it’s place. What would you like to see take it’s place, if anything?

 

The Show Must Go On

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The new T-Mobile Arena has been open for a grand total of four days, and already there’s been performances that will go down in Vegas history for their grandeur. Last night’s show by the legendary Guns N Roses is absolutely no exception – but it did have a twist.

A few hours before they began their show, Axl Rose posted on his Twitter that he had broken his foot. Fans all over the Vegas valley took a deep breath and prepared for the seemingly inevitable news that the show would be cancelled… But the news never came. Instead, in a throwback to  the 2015 Foo Fighters concert where Dave Grohl performed seated with a broken leg, Axl Rose went on stage with a lighted throne that had a stirrup for his cast.

Many performers have been criticized for the lack of commitment to a show (see Justin Bieber, who decided to cancel meet and greets with the fans because it was too emotionally draining for him), but Guns N Roses truly showed their love by continuing to go on stage with a pretty serious injury. And if you’d think that this affected the performance, you’d be wrong. Instead, the show was a fresh take on a ‘typical’ rock show; because of his being seated the entire show, Axl Rose’s voice took on new depths and the concert became less about being there and more about being a part of it.

His recovery will be a bit, but Guns N Roses is expected to continue their performances as scheduled – like April 9th here in Vegas.

Pro Boxing, Pacquiao, and the 2016 Olympics

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The Filipino world championship professional boxer has made headlines recently about his apparent interest in boxing in the next Olympics. Although professional boxers are not allowed to compete in the Olympics at the moment, the International Boxing Association (AiBA) has already proposed changing the rules for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Allowing professional boxing into the Olympics for this year causes a few problems – the first being that the first round of qualification tournaments are already underway and professional boxers may quite literally miss the deadline. On top of that, critics are insistent that it simply wouldn’t be a fair match; putting a world champion against a teenager that doesn’t have a lot of experience under his belt could definitely cause more than the standard share of boxing bodily harm. Pitting a professional like Pacquiao against a semi-pro or amateur could easily end their career before it’s off the ground.

AiBA has proposed Pacquiao for the Olympics before, but this year seems to be really putting him into the spotlight. The main reason Pacquiao would consider fighting in the Olympics is because his home country, the Philippines, has yet to win a gold medal in boxing in the Olympics. Pacquiao is running for the senate in his native country, and a win in the elections could very well mean the end of his boxing career permanently. However, bringing home a gold medal from the Olympics before the final elections could create a strong push with the voters.

With both politics and ethics being involved in the decision to allow professional boxing and, by extension, Manny Pacquiao, into the 2016 Summer Olympics, it’s understandable that the final call is still up in the air. What do you think would be best – allow professional boxing in, or keep the Olympics geared towards the younger, rising stars?