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Potential Big Ten Title Game in Vegas Highlights Industry Shift

  • Largest entity in college sports in early stages of bid process for key event.
  • Not every team in Las Vegas finding consistent fan support.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest entity in college football is potentially headed to the biggest boom town in sports, another sign of fast-changing conditions across the business of sports — but one that comes with some challenging optics.

The Big Ten Conference is considering shifting its football title game from its traditional Indianapolis setting to Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, with a bidding process still in its early stages.

If completed, the move would extend the ongoing sports expansion in Las Vegas and perhaps more directly represent the conference’s new coast-to-coast footprint. It also follows several other NCAA events now regularly held in Sin City or scheduled for there, including several Pac-12 Conference football title games, college basketball’s Final Four, and college hockey’s Frozen Four.

The conference’s contract with Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, expires after the 2024 game, but any future decisions beyond that haven’t been made.

Despite the widespread availability of online sports betting, the move would also bring another major college football event to an epicenter of gambling — just as college football is grappling with the negative effects like never before.

Not All That Glitters Is Gold

Amid the ongoing sports growth in Las Vegas and the robust local fan support enjoyed by the champion Vegas Golden Knights and the Las Vegas Aces, the Raiders are still working to find their footing in Nevada.

A Saturday preseason game at Allegiant Stadium against San Francisco was heavily overrun with 49ers fans, repeating a situation that occurred at the facility late in the 2022 regular season.

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