Big Ten Mulling Move of Football Title Game to Las Vegas
Posted on: August 14, 2023, 04:13h.
Last updated on: August 15, 2023, 09:36h.
The rapidly expanding Big 10 Conference is considering moving its football championship game, and Las Vegas is reportedly one of the cities under consideration.
The game, which has been staged in Indianapolis since its inception in 2011, would be held at Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. The $1.9 billion stadium, which opened in July 2020, already has ties to college football, as it serves as UNLV’s home field and the host of the Las Vegas Bowl.
The Big 10 has asked us to submit proposals. I’m sure they have asked a number of cities. We are certainly interested, will put our best foot forward and know there is no better place for their football championship,” Steve Hill, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) president and chief executive officer, said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Allegiant Stadium has hosted the Pac-12 championship game for the past several years, and will serve as the home of that conference’s final title tilt later this year. The storied, 108-year-old conference is a shell of itself after other leagues raided its members in the latest round of expansion. That conference and others have also held men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in Las Vegas.
Pac-12 Additions Make Vegas Relevant for Big Ten
The Big 10 is one of the most inappropriately named sports conferences in the world. It’s currently home to 14 universities. But next year, that number will swell to 18.
That’s because UCLA and USC, the schools that drove the initial nails into the Pac-12’s coffin, and the Universities of Oregon and Washington are joining the Big 10. There’s also speculation that at some point in the future, the Big Ten could take mercy upon the Pac-12’s University of California-Berkeley (Cal) and Stanford, and invite those schools into the league.
Even if that doesn’t happen, the Big Ten’s westward expansion enhances the relevance of Las Vegas as a potential home city, even if it’s on a rotating basis, for the conference’s football championship game.
Additionally, there’s talk that the league will take the Pac-12’s automatic bid for the Las Vegas Bowl, further enhancing its relationship with Allegiant Stadium and Sin City.
Moving Parts in Moving Big Ten Title Game
As the LVCVA’s Hill told the Review-Journal, it’s possible the Big Ten is talking with other cities, so it’s not a foregone conclusion the league will play a football title game in Las Vegas.
Should Allegiant Stadium host a Big Ten championship clash, the ideal scenario in terms of filling seats and driving visitation to the city would be a combination of UCLA or USC — due to proximity — against the Big Ten’s most venerable brands, Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State.
While that would be a “perfect world” scenario for a Big Ten title game in Las Vegas, it’s far from guaranteed in any given year. Amid expansion, the conference is dropping divisions, meaning that the two teams with the best records, regardless of geography, will be the participants in the championship game.
That also means that in some years, it’s possible the conference title game will be a rematch of a regular season tilt.
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