Skip to main content
Due to frequent sell-out nights, advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.
Opening times this week:
Monday
8:30pm - Midnight
Tuesday
8:30pm - Midnight
Wednesday
8:30pm - Midnight
Thursday
8:30pm - Midnight
Friday
8:30pm - Midnight
Saturday
8:30pm - Midnight
Sunday
8:30pm - Midnight
Due to frequent sell-out nights, advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.
Opening times this week:
Monday
8:30pm - Midnight
Tuesday
8:30pm - Midnight
Wednesday
8:30pm - Midnight
Thursday
8:30pm - Midnight
Friday
8:30pm - Midnight
Saturday
8:30pm - Midnight
Sunday
8:30pm - Midnight
Due to frequent sell-out nights, advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.
Opening times this week:
Monday
8:30pm - Midnight
Tuesday
8:30pm - Midnight
Wednesday
8:30pm - Midnight
Thursday
8:30pm - Midnight
Friday
8:30pm - Midnight
Saturday
8:30pm - Midnight
Sunday
8:30pm - Midnight

Sports Discovery

Downtown

Plaza

The Plaza Hotel & Casino, formerly known as the Union Plaza Hotel & Casino, has a storied history of athletic innovation and unique sports offerings. A figure integral in the opening of the property in 1971, assistant general manager James “Jimmy” Arthur Gay III was not only a respected casino executive but also the state’s first Black mortician, a prolific civil rights activist, and a former alternate on “the 1936 U.S. Olympic track team”.

Gay’s passion for athletics and civics led Governor Grant Sawyer to appoint him to the Nevada Athletic Commission in 1958, where he served as the organization’s first Black member. Additionally, Gay was integral to the founding of the Valley View Golf Club, which aimed to “introduce and teach golf to minority youth in Southern Nevada”.

Gay’s enthusiasm for athletics has continued in recent years. The Plaza Hotel & Casino’s CORE Arena is the current site of the Las Vegas Days Rodeo, part of a larger celebration of Las Vegas’ history and heritage. Additionally, the Plaza made history in 2016 when it opened its dedicated Pickleball courts, becoming the first property in Las Vegas to do so. One of the fastest growing sports in the world, Pickleball is known for its fast-pace and inclusivity. 2018 saw the Plaza host the inaugural Las Vegas Pickleball Open, attended by over 400 players competing for a $25,000 prize.

 

Circa

Located where the Circa Resort & Casino is today, the Las Vegas Club was unique in the landscape of downtown for its theming. Vice President of the property, Mel Exber, was a lifelong fan of the Dodgers baseball franchise, across both of the team’s notable iterations as the Brooklyn Dodgers and, more recently, as the Los Angeles Dodgers. His passion for the team motivated him to turn the Las Vegas Club into a “downtown shrine [dedicated] to his love of the game.”

Exber not only featured his personal collection of baseball memorabilia at the property, but acquired a number of high profile pieces – such as Jackie Robinson’s personal Louisville Slugger and Maury Wills’ 1962 championship belt – and even invested $35 million to renovate the property, modeling it after Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York.

Today, the Circa is home to “what it claims to be [is] the world’s largest sportsbook.” Composed of a multi-story space with “enough room for up to 1,000 bettors,” the Circa Sportsbook is the latest addition to the major momentum sports betting has gathered in recent years. 2023 saw Americans bet over $100 billion on sports, an unprecedented 32.7% increase from the prior year. This growth has been largely driven by the legalization of sports betting and online gambling across the country, due to a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that struck down “a federal law that prohibited commercial sports betting in most states,” with New York currently serving as “the industry’s top performer.”

 

La Concha Lobby (at The Neon Museum)

While his impressive career took him across the world – including matches in “Bahamas, Germany, Philippines, Malaysia, Zaire, Indonesia” and more – Muhammad Ali unquestionably helped define his legacy in arenas throughout Las Vegas. Ali fought in Las Vegas a total of seven times, winning five of the matches, most of which were held at the Las Vegas Convention Center throughout the 1960s and 1970s. During this time, Ali was widely considered to be the most famous professional boxer of the period, described by famed-promoter Bob Arum as “the most transforming figure of [the] time”.

Ali’s final victory in Las Vegas arrived in his 1975 face-off against Ron Lyle. This was Ali’s second attempt at defending his title as heavyweight champion of the world, his second reign under that highly prestigious distinction. With the stakes high and media attention reaching a fervor, Ali temporarily settled in Las Vegas in the weeks before his fight to train and practice.

Among the properties he stayed at were those owned by the Doumani family, including the La Concha Motel (which has served as the Neon Museum Visitors’ Center since 2006) and the El Morocco Motel, the latter of which was informally dubbed the “[Headquarters] of Muhammad Ali”. A kinship was struck between Ali and the Doumani family, including with the family’s young sons, Lorenzo and Freddy. The young boys were showered with gifts, toured around the city, and even got to train alongside Ali in his lead up to the fight.

 

Cashman Field

Despite serving as the home of the Las Vegas Lights Football Club since 2019, Cashman Field has a storied history with minor league baseball. Las Vegas’ first professional sports team, the Las Vegas Wranglers men’s baseball team, called the stadium home on two separate occasions, from 1947-1952 and from 1957-58, during a period in which “cities across the country [were losing] their baseball teams to major league shifts and expansion and the rapid emergence of television.”

During the 1960s and 1970s, the stadium experienced a period of infrequency and eventual inactivity, during which the old Cashman Field was demolished and redeveloped. Upon reopening in 1983, the new stadium debuted both a new layout – able to accommodate 10,000-seats across 50 acres – and a new team, the Las Vegas Stars. The groundbreaking success of the Las Vegas Stars led to their induction into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, and their endurance as a franchise, rebranding as the Las Vegas 51s in 2001 and later the Las Vegas Aviators in 2019.

With this most recent rebranding, the Las Vegas Aviators also adopted a new home, the Las Vegas Ballpark, constructed in Summerlin in 2019. Despite no longer having a permanent baseball tenant, Cashman Field is the current home to the Las Vegas Lights Football Club, and the stadium itself has been reconfigured into “a full-time professional soccer venue.”

 

Las Vegas Strip

Sahara

Just two years after the opening of the property, Hollywood star Esther Williams premiered her aquatic show at the Sahara Hotel and Casino in 1954. Williams’ career is, perhaps, best remembered for her innovation of the aquatic musical and her box office success, starring in hit films such as 1947’s This Time for Keeps and 1952’s Million Dollar Mermaid. Her films during the 1940s and 1950s hewed closely to a formula of “romance, music, a bit of comedy and a flimsy plot that provided excuses to get [her] into the water”.

Despite Williams’ lucrative Hollywood career, Williams referred to her time in the film industry as a “consolation prize,” because she considered athletics her lifelong passion; she had not intended to enter show business, and was a celebrated competitive swimmer for a majority of her adolescence and young adulthood. Williams’ aquatic talents had her poised for a professional bout at the 1940 Olympics, but her aspirations were dashed when the ceremony was “canceled with the onset of World War II”.

The entertainment offerings of the Las Vegas Strip changed drastically in the 1990s and 2000s, as the city attempted to broaden its appeal to include new audiences, such as families and sports fans. The Sahara was indicative of this shift, seeking to capitalize on the popularity of NASCAR (the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) in Las Vegas, driven by the 1996 opening of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which hosted major events such as the NASCAR Cup Series and the Pennzoil 400.

The NASCAR Café opened at the Sahara in 2000, with an opening ceremony attended by NASCAR legends such as Dale Jarrett and Dale Earnhardt. In addition to displaying memorabilia, the property featured a roller coaster and the world’s largest stock car, known as “Carzilla,” which weighed over three tons.

 

Westgate

When the Las Vegas Jockey Club opened in 1953, on the current site of the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino, the property seemed poised for major success in the city. Not only did groundbreaking architect Paul Revere Williams, FAIA, design the racetrack, but it also arrived at a nationwide surge in the popularity of horse racing, driven primarily by the rising presence of home televisions and the inclusion of equestrian sports in the newly-televised Olympics. Additionally, gambling in horse racing was gaining popularity, and Las Vegas, up until that point, had not had a designated track. Unfortunately, inconsistent funding and technical issues led to the Las Vegas Jockey Club only being open for 13 days. The track briefly reopened in the subsequent years, but was demolished in the 1960s.

In more recent years, the Westgate has hosted high-profile tournaments for cue sports, such as billiards, pool, and snooker, including the APA (American Pool Players Association) World Pool Championships and the APA Poolplayer Championships. In 2017, the property cemented itself in the annals of pool history when it hosted the Guinness World Records-certified “World’s Largest Pool Tournament,” consisting of 12,800 players across 327 tables, all competing for a purse of $1.2 million.

Similar to the Circa Resort and Casino, and indicative of larger trends in gambling and sports betting, the Westgate claims to feature “the world’s largest sportsbook,” featuring a 4k video wall measuring “18 feet tall and 260 feet wide.”

 

Resorts World

1965 proved to be a defining year for the Stardust Resort and Casino (currently, the site of Resorts World Las Vegas) making history in the landscape of sports in Las Vegas. Beginning in February, the Stardust began hosting the National Open Chess Championship, an event the property proudly continued to host throughout the late-1960s and 1970s. The inaugural tournament was won by Polish-American grandmaster Samuel Reshevsky, who bested multiple opponents over the course of eight games, taking home the top prize of $750 and the “silver cup ‘Stardust Trophy,’ symbolic of the National Open Championship.”

Chess matches, at the elite level, can “last 7, 8, or even 9 hours,” and require a high degree of concentration and discipline, as well as intense physical conditioning. This physical rigor is largely due to elevated breathing rates, higher blood pressure, and stress responses like muscle contractions experienced during matches. In 1999, the International Olympic Committee designated the governing body of chess, the FIDE, or the International Chess Federation, as a Global Sporting Organization, alongside the “governing bodies of the sports of Football, Cricket, Swimming, and Auto racing.”

Later in 1965, then-owner of the Stardust, Moe Dalitz, borrowed the property’s name and aesthetic when he opened the Stardust International Raceway in the area currently known as Spring Valley. Dalitz’s reasoning behind opening the Raceway was to offer high-rollers a new form of entertainment, possibly driving more to traffic to the Stardust Resort and Casino. Despite closing in 1971, the track saw racing legends such as Mario Andretti and Bruce McLaren race there, with the latter even setting the all-time track record for fastest lap, at 1:30.950.

 

Riviera

Currently, the former site of the Riviera Hotel and Casino is reserved for a planned Las Vegas Convention Center expansion, but before the property was demolished in 2016, it hosted a number of eclectic artists and performers, including the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, or GLOW, in the 1980s. The groundbreaking all-female wrestling company, founded by entrepreneurs David McLane and Meshulam Riklis, selected the Riviera as the setting and logistical headquarters for GLOW’s televised matches, which ran on syndicated cable from 1986 to 1990.

The 1980s and 1990s are often cited by experts and enthusiasts as two of the largest surges in popularity of televised professional wrestling. This rise in interest was largely driven by both the launch of the Wrestlemania tournament in 1985 and “the cultural momentum that coincided with the peaks in power of other vulgar media,” such as South Park and Howard Stern in the 1990s.

GLOW was unique for its blend of wrestling, comedy, and musical performances. Among the figures included in GLOW, were veteran Las Vegas performers, such as Lauri S. Thompson, who performed in the Folies Bergère at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino for 13 years. Thompson had a major hand in developing her character, a cheerleader named Susie Spirit, and was initially drawn to the opportunity due to the multi-faceted nature of the GLOW matches. After GLOW’s engagement at the Riviera concluded, the show “moved on to an arena tour.”

 

Wynn/Encore

Opened as the fifth major resort on the Las Vegas Strip in 1950, the Desert Inn made headlines for its luxury and glamour, buzzing with celebrities like Eddie Fisher and Frank Sinatra and earning a reputation as “one of the highest-profile resorts in Las Vegas.” The Desert Inn offered a unique blend of glamour and a country club atmosphere, and featured great views, 300 rooms, a famous showroom, and, beginning in 1953, a first-of-its-kind golf course, the Desert Inn Golf Club, designed by Lawrence Hughes, member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.

Upon opening, the course was chosen by the Professional Golfers Association, or PGA, to host the inaugural Tournament of Champions. Golfer Al Besselink was victorious, and was awarded $10,000 in silver dollars brought to him in a wheelbarrow by then-owner of the property, Wilbur Clark. Additionally, the 1970s saw the establishing of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, or LPGA, tournament: the Desert Inn Classic.

Famous golfers like JoAnne Carner, Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods all teed off at the Desert Inn Golf Club over the years. The property closed in August 2000, after being acquired by Steve Wynn as the site of his Wynn and Encore properties. In 2005, the Wynn Golf Club opened on the site of the former Desert Inn Golf Club, with 12,000 of the original trees still in place, some of which “are over 70 years old and [measure] over 60 feet tall.”

 

Flamingo

In the seven decades since the property opened in 1946, the Flamingo Hotel and Casino has presented a unique array of iconic and unique entertainment offerings, including the performance stylings of creative partners George Arnold and Bill Moore. Over the course of their 35-year partnership, the duo produced dozens of shows across Las Vegas, including the controversial “…on Ice” series of ice dancing shows, such as the headline-making Nudes on Ice, which helped to cement ice-dancing as a staple in the entertainment landscape of the city.

The show was a staple of pop culture fodder in the 1980s, earning mentions on David Letterman and references on television shows such as Alf and Murphy Brown. Despite the provocative titles, the shows were often reviewed as tasteful and well-choreographed, featuring limited nudity. While Arnold and Moore were expert entrepreneurs and marketers, the duo were also talented dancers in their own right, with Arnold even earning the title of the “Fred Astaire of the Ice,” due to his uncanny ability to tap dance while skating.

The duo forged a decades-long relationship with the Flamingo throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Their shows, City Lites and Razzle Dazzle, ran for a combined total of 20 years, often selling out and constantly being updated to stay fresh and feature new and exciting performers. Both Arnold and Moore continued to produce shows around the world until the time of their respective deaths, with the latter even remarking that the duo had “never had a flop” over their extensive partnership.

 

Caesars Palace

Throughout the 1990s, the Caesars Palace cemented itself as a defining athletic venue through hosting a number of high-profile boxing events, including 1996’s Ultimate Glory, between Julio Cesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya. Fans praised Chavez, a near-undefeated boxing veteran, as a Mexican national hero, while detractors were quick to point out his age and his status as an “old guard” fighter. De La Hoya, meanwhile, was hailed by fans as the future of boxing, while detractors were quick to point out that his values and inauthentic character were more aligned with America than with Mexico.

Their match, held in an outdoor arena on the Caesars Palace property, was attended by over 16,000 spectators with a heat index of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In just under 20 minutes, the fight resulted in a fourth round technical knockout for De La Hoya; Ultimate Glory is considered by some experts to be “the biggest non-heavyweight fight in the history of boxing”.

While the property may have defined itself through its boxing offerings in the 1990s, the previous decade saw Caesars Palace make early strides in the field of auto racing, particularly Formula One, setting the groundwork for Formula One’s eventual return to Las Vegas in 2023. The Caesars Palace Grand Prix was held for two consecutive years beginning in 1981, conceived by the property’s marketing director, Bill Weinberger. Located in an asphalt lot on the Caesars Palace property, the 2.5 mile circuit contained 14 turns, to be driven over the course of 75 laps. Superstar drivers such as Alan Jones and Mario Andretti competed in the Caesars Palace Grand Prix, with the latter even referring to the track as a “wonderful go-kart course.”

 

Horseshoe

The current site of the Horseshoe Las Vegas was previously Bally’s Las Vegas from 1986 to 2022, which itself was originally the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino from 1973 to 1986. As the MGM, the property featured jai-alai (pronounced hie-a-lie) as a staple of its entertainment offerings. The game, with its origins in the Basque region between Spain and France, was originally called “pelota vasca,” or Basque ball, and first arrived to the United States via Cuba in the 1960s.

In Miami, Florida, the game began to gain national attention due to its fast-paced thrills, high rates of attendance, and unique pari-mutuel betting strategy, in which “those who bet on the winners of a [match] share the total amount wagered less a percentage for management”. Jai-alai can be played either singles or doubles, and involves players spread across a three-walled, padded court, known as a “cancha”. Armed with “cestas,” or hand-worn curved baskets, players take turns swinging a hard rubber ”pelota,” or ball, with the goal of “[making] the opposing player miss the ball or foul it out”. The ball is known for its high-speed, often travelling “in the range of 150 mph, the fastest of any sporting object in the world.”

The game’s high-level of danger, as well as the theatrics and visual uniqueness of the game, made jai-alai a perfect match for Las Vegas in the 1970s, where it became a rousing success. On average, matches at the MGM were attended by an average of 1,300 people per night who wagered a total of $45,000 per night. Tickets were sold for as little as $3.30 and, when paired with the inherent curio of the game, resulted in high-anticipation for a follow-up season. However, a number of challenges faced the sport at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, including labor issues and boycotts, issues with immigration agencies, and the deadly fire at the property that occurred in 1980. Jai-alai lasted at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino until 1983.

 

T-Mobile Arena

Opened in 2016, the T-Mobile Arena was an early indicator of Las Vegas’ newfound efforts to assert itself as a global athletics destination. Owners AEG and MGM Resorts International developed the property with the multi-use function in mind, able to host professional basketball and hockey games, mixed martial arts and boxing matches, as well as concerts and award shows. At maximum, the T-Mobile Arena can hold up to 20,000 people across 650,000-square feet.

Shortly after opening, both the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced their plans to become long-term tenants of the arena, with the property also hosting Professional Bull Riders (PBR) tournaments and college basketball games soon after. Notably, 2023 saw the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights defeat the Florida Panthers 9-3 to win the 2023 Stanley Cup at the T-Mobile Arena, just six years after being established.

 

Luxor

Located within the Luxor Hotel and Casino, occupying the former space of the property’s LAX nightclub, the HyperX Esports Arena opened in 2018 as the flagship competitive gaming venue of Allied Esports. The 30,000-square foot space includes offerings for fans and competitors alike, with aspirations to become a destination for championships and tournaments for popular competitive games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, and Overwatch.

The market size of epsorts “was valued at US$1.39 billion in 2022,” with the field expected to grow exponentially throughout the next decade. Key factors leading to this growth include the field’s young audience, its “high accessibility and inclusiveness,” as well as “the development of the mobile 5G connectivity.”

 

Mandalay Bay

Referred to by the Guardian as “the next great American sports dynasty,” the Las Vegas Aces finished their sixth year in the city with an unprecedented back-to-back championship victory, besting both the Connecticut Sun in 2022 and the New York Liberty in 2023. Beginning as the Utah Starzz in 1997, part of the “original eight” franchises of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the team arrived in Las Vegas in 2018 and was acquired by Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis in 2021. In addition to securing record-breaking contracts for coaches and players, Davis also invested $40 million on “an 80,000 [-square foot] state-of-the-art practice space [for the Aces],” the first of its kind in the WNBA’s history to be both women-specific and unshared. The Aces have called the Mandalay Bay’s 12,000-seat Michelob ULTRA Arena home since 2018.

Also making history at the Michelob ULTRA Arena are the Las Vegas Desert Dogs, the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) 15th expansion team, whose ownership includes sports icons such as Wayne Gretzky and Steve Nash. The team’s inaugural season was played in 2022.

 

Allegiant Stadium

Opened on July 31, 2020, Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium is currently ranked as the third most expensive stadium in North America, behind Nissan Stadium and Bridgestone Arena, both located in Nashville, Tennessee, and occupying first and second place, respectively. The multi-use stadium boasts a capacity of over 65,000 visitors, and is expected to generate an economic benefit of over $620 million annually to Southern Nevada, in addition to creating over 6,000 permanent jobs. Notably, Allegiant Stadium features the “largest 3d-printed object in the world,” in the form of a 92-foot tall carbon fiber and aluminum torch, in memory of Al Davis, the late owner of the Las Vegas Raiders, who have called the stadium home since its opening. In 2021, Allegiant was announced as the host for Super Bowl LVIII in 2024, marking the first time both the city of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada will host the event.