Why don’t we have an Ikea? A big-time sports team? A Dave & Buster’s?
Because Las Vegas is a bleary, boring, cultural wasteland! Nah. It might have more to do with the perception of Las Vegas as a den of desert hedonism—at least for the first two. Supposedly, the Swedish Ikea’s admittedly traditional, conservative corporate values derailed a plan to lure it to Las Vegas. As for sports, the pressures that gambling places (and, some say, exerts) upon professional sports has often been cited as the reason we do not have any big-league teams here.
But the truth may be more pedestrian. Ikea’s “Swedish values” are strongly rooted in the concept of thrift; perhaps Southern Nevada proved too pricey for its business model to succeed. And while we’ve had our share of experiments in second-tier sports (the Las Vegas 51s stand alone), one possible explanation for the lack of professional teams can be found at any bar during Monday Night Football. Many residents shoulder loyalties to their hometown, making building new ones in the winners-only culture of Vegas difficult. Also? Selling a taxpayer-funded stadium here has proven—so far, at least—impossible.
As for Dave & Buster’s bounty of booze, food and arcade games? We had one: GameWorks. And even though the original Strip location is long gone, expect another to open soon at Town Square. Insert Coin(s) on East Fremont is your 21+ alternative, and although they serve no food, there’s plenty available on the block.
Does it matter if the Las Vegas Sun goes away?
In a word, yes. People can argue all day about the value of each of our town papers’ political positions and what the death of the “liberal” paper might mean. But it matters beyond the editorials, because the end of that “paper” also spells bye-bye to the Sun website—which has been home to some of our city’s best journalism. Our culture increasingly chooses the immediacy of social media, often eschewing objectivity for advocacy of points of view we already hold. Still, something good may come of this cultural shift. Weekly publications may emerge as the gatekeeper when it comes to long-form reporting.