LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – The Aces brought home the first major professional sports championship trophy to Las Vegas, and UNLV sports management professor Nancy Lough said it is setting the tone for the future of Las Vegas sports.
“We’re looking at a legacy that’s starting here in this city,” Lough said. “Now the [Golden] Knights and Raiders and every other team are kind of on alert like, ‘hey they won a championship, now it’s time to step up’.”
Lough said barriers like media coverage and sponsorship have held back women’s sports over the years, but slowly that’s changing in the WNBA. She said the investments into the Aces by owner Mark Davis is getting others to buy in. One example is hiring Becky Hammon as the first WNBA coach to exceed a million-dollar salary.
“I think the commitment he made is something that really brought attention to the rest of the sports world and even the local community as to the seriousness to which they should be following this team and getting engaged with the Las Vegas Aces,” Lough said.
This week there were long lines for Aces merchandise. Thursday there was a petition started for the DMV to add an Aces’ license plate background similar to the Golden Knights and Raiders.
Lough said the current team has a chance to become a dynasty, and that means more value to the Aces and southern Nevada’s sports economy.
“We have an opportunity here to have a fan level that’s unprecedented,” Lough said. “The beauty of Las Vegas is so many people identify with it, so I think the Aces fan base could be national in scope. Far bigger than just our beautiful city.”
Lough believes that could mean more visitors flying and driving in specifically for Aces games.
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