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Why is the Final Four of the In-Season tournament held in Las Vegas?

The T-Mobile Center has been described as the perfect venue for the final of this new National Basketball Association’s competition format.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at T-Mobile Arena.
Gary A. VasquezUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

As the days bounce by, the final phase of the In-Season Tournament approaches. As you likely know, this is a new competition implemented in the league to enhance the excitement and competitiveness during a part of the season that is typically distant from crucial stages, specifically November and early December.

The NBA executives decided to add extra value to some regular-season games. To do so, they would form six groups of five teams each, where matchups between teams in the same group would have a qualifying value in this In-Season Tournament. Following this, the top eight would compete in knockout matches in the quarterfinals and semifinals, with the outcomes of these rounds influencing both the tournament and the regular season.

However, the final of this new tournament will be played separately from the 82 games and at a neutral venue: Las Vegas.

Why Las Vegas for In-Season Tournament?

Yes, ‘Sin City’ has been selected as the host for the final inaugural edition of the In-Season Tournament. According to the NBA, T-Mobile Arena will be the venue for the title match, which is set to become a basketball celebration. The league, much like various other organizations, is making a significant investment in the market represented by the city in Nevada.

The remarkable growth of events of this nature has positioned Las Vegas at the forefront of global technology in shows and businesses related to sports. Hosting events such as a Formula 1 Grand Prix, the top boxing and UFC fights worldwide, and now the grand final of the new NBA tournament, Las Vegas is a preferred choice for several reasons.

A futuristic image of the world

Las Vegas has undergone an astonishing technological evolution, featuring large futuristic buildings, cutting-edge transportation and communication infrastructure, and unparalleled visitor amenities. The city has transformed into a renewed and forward-looking destination, equipped to embrace the future in numerous aspects that set it apart from anywhere else.

A general view of the Sphere during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Strip Circuit.
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A general view of the Sphere during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Strip Circuit.MARK THOMPSONAFP

A common and accessible place

Las Vegas is a large and well-prepared city capable of hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors. This is a key factor highlighted by Evan Wasch, the NBA’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Strategy and Analytics, regarding the city’s selection as the venue for the game.

“The hope is that we can turn it into a destination between December 7 and 9 so that basketball fans at the local, national, and global levels come and see NBA stars participating in this high-level competition,” said the executive.

Sphere at F1 Las Vegas Strip Circuit.
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Sphere at F1 Las Vegas Strip Circuit.MIKE BLAKEREUTERS

Furthermore, the city has the necessary infrastructure to ensure that both players and fans experience the game as if it were played in an authentic NBA franchise venue.

“Creating what we hope will be a championship atmosphere in a neutral market, with that high level of competitive intensity of high-level basketball,” Wasch concluded.

A Future in Las Vegas

Undoubtedly, the city of hotels and casinos remains the untapped market for the NBA. It is quite possible that shortly, the league will have a franchise in Las Vegas, making it a key factor for the future to approach the local population and experiment with the feasibility of having a team there.

Many familiar faces, such as LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal, have publicly expressed their interest in acquiring an NBA franchise in Las Vegas in the future. Undoubtedly, this would be a significant and important step for the NBA regarding the growth of a league that never ceases to advance.