LAS VEGAS — “It was more difficult to get a ticket to the UNLV basketball game than it was to the Frank Sinatra show.” — coach Jerry Tarkanian, on HBO’s “Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV.”
Yeah, this used to be the Rebels’ playground. Imagine what the late Tark the Shark would have said about the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders invading Sin City last year.
And when it comes to tickets, what would Tarkanian have thought of it being more expensive to watch the Silver and Black at the corner of Al Davis Way and Dean Martin Drive than to check out Ol’ Blue Eyes on the Strip?
Or did you miss that tidbit about secondary-market ducats bubbling up with last week’s NFL schedule release? After Tom Brady‘s return to New England, Las Vegas has five of the next six most in-demand games based on average ticket price and six of the next eight, per Vivid Seats.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Patriots on Oct. 3 had an average price of $1,376 per ticket on Monday, with the Raiders’ season-opening Monday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 13 averaging $944.
• Power Rankings: Most improved teams
• Raiders pricey ticket on secondary market
• Kerrigan was model of consistency for WFT
• Why Broncos picked Surtain II over QB
• Schedule release: Prediction for every team
The Raiders playing host to the Kansas City Chiefs ($823) on Nov. 14 was next, followed by the Raiders vs. the Philadelphia Eagles ($673) on Oct. 24, and the Raiders vs. the Chicago Bears ($654) on Oct. 10.
The Patriots hosting the Cowboys ($602) on Oct. 17 ranked sixth, with the Raiders’ home game against the Miami Dolphins ($600) on Sept. 26 right behind that. Brady and the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers then make another appearance with a home game against the Cowboys ($567) in the Thursday night season opener on Sept. 9.
Of course, this is all contingent upon the pandemic waning and fans being allowed into stadiums. Currently in Las Vegas, attendance for indoor events is capped at 50%, with spacing regulations, but is expected to rise to 100%, perhaps as soon as June 1. And as restrictions are lifted, trips to Las Vegas will resume and the demand for the Raiders, who played in front of 65,000 empty seats at Allegiant Stadium last season, will be what the league imagined when it agreed to move the team from Oakland.
“What this means to me is we’ve got to win games if we want them to keep coming back,” Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN.com. “We’re in the sports and entertainment capital of the world. It’s our inaugural season 2.0 and we have a beautiful stadium that is also a draw.
“It’s exciting as hell. We want to do everything safe so we’re taking our cues from the health officials — local, league, state and national. But to think of 65,000 fans in the stadium, that’s what we came here for. I’m excited for that.”
Davis did not attend any home games last season as a show of unity with fans who were shut out of Allegiant Stadium. He said he hopes to join fans this year.
Personal Seat Licenses were sold out almost a year before Allegiant Stadium opened and as such, the team is not expected to have many tickets under its own control, with a lot of the expected inventory going to the league and visiting teams.
The Raiders also made news last week with the announcement of Wynn Resorts becoming the “official nightlife partner” of the team and stadium and sponsoring the field-level club on the other side of the north end zone, a near-11,000-foot space that features couches, bottle service, 42 TVs, a 9-foot-by-35-foot LED screen, two DJ booths and a 45,000-watt sound system (Wynn will control tickets and access to the club at a later date).
No word yet, though, on if the DJs will play any Sinatra.