NFL awards Las Vegas a Pro Bowl, which might be one way to rejuvenate the game

Las Vegas lost the NFL draft when a public health crisis hit the world, but the NFL is still full steam ahead with promoting its newest market.

The NFL announced that the next Pro Bowl will be held at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, on January 31, 2021.

It’s a little surprising considering Orlando had seemed to be settling in as the new home of the Pro Bowl. Orlando bid on the game in 2021, according to reports. And while the NFL thanked Orlando and said it looked forward to “creating more memorable moments together in the future,” it makes sense for the NFL to move its all-star game to Las Vegas for at least one trial run.

It could end up helping Las Vegas and the Pro Bowl itself.

Pro Bowl in Las Vegas should be huge

The Pro Bowl long ago became stale. Moving it to Orlando, a market without an NFL team in a big entertainment-based city, seemed to help some. But Las Vegas is a different experience altogether.

There’s a reason four college basketball conference tournaments happen in Las Vegas. It’s an easy sell to fans, who have a lot to do on that trip other than the game. When the NBA All-Star Game was in Vegas in 2007 the city was packed, and only a few of those fans were going to the actual game. The Pro Bowl isn’t nearly as big of an event as the NBA All-Star Game, but it will draw a lot more people than just about any other NFL city could.

That is, if Las Vegas is prepared for that kind of crowd by late January.

An aerial view shows Allegiant Stadium, which will host the 2021 Pro Bowl, under construction west of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Las Vegas could benefit from the Pro Bowl

The tourist parts of Las Vegas were oddly deserted for a couple months as the city shut down with the rest of the world during the coronavirus outbreak. Casinos have recently reopened, but shows and nightclubs have not. There are concerns about safety when it comes to going to a city known for hosting large parties.

Nobody knows what live sports or Las Vegas will look like by Jan. 31. Maybe fans will be allowed into games. Maybe just half the stadium will be full. Maybe there won’t be live sports at all if there’s another spike. It’s way too early to tell.

But the idea of having the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas seems to be a beneficial one for the NFL as it tries to revive its all-star game and for a city that was hit hard by the pandemic. It wouldn’t be surprising if the NFL, which resisted Las Vegas for many years, suddenly sees it as a great regular host for its biggest events.

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