Major League Baseball, the most gambling-averse of all the major professional sports, is apparently totally cool with the idea of a team playing in Las Vegas.
As recently noted in this space, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred seems increasingly to have expansion on his mind. While the general sense of things is that Manfred and MLB will look to expand their international footprint in the next round of expansion, you should also consider Las Vegas to be in the mix of potential locations.
Baseball — with its dark history of gambling, from the Black Sox scandal to gool ol’ Pete Rose — isn’t exactly the sport you’d think would cozy itself up to Vegas, but hey, Manfred has surprised us before with his ideas. Here’s what he said :
“We passed that by a long time ago, right? There are casinos all over the place,” Manfred said. “I see Las Vegas as a viable alternative. I would not disqualify it just because of the gambling issue.”
That’s good to hear, because the logic there is sound. But baseball in a different era tried so hard to separate itself from gambling, lest it look like a bunch of hypocrites. Of course, being a financial backer of Draft Kings probably helped ease that stance.
As for other considerations, Las Vegas is the 42nd-largest media market in the country. It ranks a bit higher than that in terms of metro population, and it’s also showing strong positive population growth trends. However, it ranks just 80th among metro areas in median household income.