If there was any doubt that Las Vegas is now a major sports hub, Tuesday night saw the city’s two flagship teams play opposite each other for the first time this season.
While the Vegas Golden Knights were dropping the puck against the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels were just down the block, taking on Oral Roberts at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Although the two teams were in direct competition for Las Vegans’ attention, attendance didn’t seem to suffer.
The Golden Knights drew a packed house for their 4-3 shootout win, with an announced attendance of 17,608.
It was nothing new for the Golden Knights, who have drawn at least 17,500 in all 13 home games this season. Tuesday night’s contest was the 10th most attended game this season for Vegas, which ranks third in the NHL in average attendance percentage at 102.8 (behind only Chicago and Minnesota).
The visiting Ducks brought their share of fans, but they were vastly outnumbered by the home crowd. Just prior to the opening puck drop, tickets were available on StubHub for as low as $23 and as much as $200.
UNLV’s attendance figure was a more modest 6,713, but it was not a true home game for the Rebels. Because the National Finals Rodeo has booked the Thomas & Mack Center, the Rebs had to shift two games this week to the MGM Grand.
The MGM games were also not part of the season-ticket package, though season-ticket holders were offered free admittance to the MGM games through a complicated rebate system.
UNLV’s most recent game at the Mack, an overtime showdown with Arizona on Saturday, drew 14,579. For the season, UNLV is averaging 10,111 fans per game at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Las Vegas' two teams will play at the same time on only one more occasion this season — Feb. 21, when UNLV hosts Fresno State at the Thomas & Mack Center and the Vegas Golden Knights host the Calgary Flames.