Vegas Golden Knights unveiled.

The logo of the Vegas Golden Knights. The mere existence of a major sports team in Las Vegas suggests a thawing of attitudes among the league towards regulated sports betting. (Vegas Golden Knights)

Las Vegas’ new NHL team finally has a name. The Vegas Golden Knights will become the 31st addition to the NHL, joining the Pacific Division in the Western Conference from the 2017/18 season, and Las Vegas’ first ever major league sports team.

The team name, logo (designed by Adidas), and team colors (steel grey, gold, red and black) were unveiled outside MGM’s T-Mobile Arena to a crowd of around 5,000 enthusiasts and broadcast live on the NHL Channel.    

Bill Foley, the team’s majority owner, said he the team name was inspired by his own alma mater.

Foley, a West Point graduate, said he was originally going to call the team the Black Knights but felt it might have unwanted political overtones.

The “Las” has been dropped from the name of the city to reflect preferred local usage, he added.

“We want our team to be known for dedication, honor, strength, courage and a commitment to never give up, both on the ice and off,” said Foley. “We want our team to be committed to teamwork, service to this great city and integrity in all things, and we wanted a name and logo that represented all of this and was unique to Las Vegas and our community. Vegas Golden Knights is that name.”

Thawing of Attitudes

The fact that Vegas at last has its own major sports team reflects a thawing of attitudes of the leagues towards sports betting.

The city’s sports books will be offering bets on the Knights’ games, despite them taking place a stone’s throw from the Strip, a fact that not long ago would have caused questions to be asked about the integrity of the games.   

And while the proposed Oakland Raiders move to Vegas is far from a done deal, it simply wouldn’t have been considered by the NFL a decade ago.

It’s a tacit acknowledgement that the sports betting landscape is changing and that regulated sports betting need not be a threat to sports integrity at a time when anyone can place a bet using unregulated online betting sites.

“We’re Going to Sell a Lot of Jerseys”

Meanwhile, while we wish the Knights the best of luck on the rink, there are still questions about the team’s chances of success off it and it all comes down to the intrinsic uniqueness of Vegas as a city.

For example, because the hospitality industry is such a major employer, precisely one-third of residents work at night when NHL games are played.

The city is also not a big TV market, meaning that local broadcast rights may not generate enough profit. But Foley believes that tourists will flock to the games, which in a sense will make the Knights a team for everybody.

“We want to be the world’s NHL team,” he said. “Las Vegas has a worldwide reputation and we are Las Vegas’ team. I know we’re going to sell a lot of jerseys, once we have them to sell.”