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The Las Vegas Desert Dogs Experience

Lacrosse All Stars fans and those who enjoy top-tier lacrosse journalism rejoice, for I have returned. I realized on my 5:00am flight to Sin City, aka Las Vegas, that I was about to embark on an opportunity of a lifetime and my experiences needed to be shared with lacrosse fans across the globe.

Imagine ten years ago somebody comes up to you and tries telling you there will be an NLL franchise located in Las Vegas. Realistically, you’d tell them to kick rocks. However the year is 2023 and we now have lacrosse in the gambling capital of the world, Vegas baby. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to catch-up on what the whole Las Vegas Desert Dogs experience was about early in the franchise’s tenure.

Upon arriving in Vegas, we headed to Mandela Bay where Michelob Ultra Arena is located within the complex. At Mandela Bay, you have walking access along with a tram that can take you between Mandela Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur. All three resorts were stunning and truly set a standard for a sporting experience that I haven’t experienced in my twenty years of following professional lacrosse. All three resorts offer plenty of casino space (surprising), along with top-tier restaurants, entertainment shows, and much more. As a consumer, it felt nearly impossible to get bored.

With a 7:30pm game there was plenty of time to explore the surrounding areas and get lost walking around this oasis. Outside of the Mandela Bay there was promotion for the Desert Dogs everywhere. Branding for the new team was hard to miss, a showing sign that Vegas is serious about their newest sports franchise.

The stands in the arena filled out, with Desert Dogs fans participating in chants that seemed like they’ve practiced for a lifetime. UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling was in attendance and even got on the jumbotron to rile up the local fans. From experience, I can vouch that the 25oz Michelob Ultra’s hit a little bit differently in the arena named after them.

As for the game itself, the visiting Philadelphia Wings were able to weather the Desert Dogs storm throughout the first half and ultimately pulled away in the second half winning the game 14-9. It was the usual suspects for the Wings; Joe Resetarits, Matt Rambo, Ben McIntosh, and Blaze Riorden that led the way for the win.

With a legendary ownership group that includes Wayne Gretzky, Dustin Johnson, and Steve Nash, it seems like the sky is the limit for the Vegas Desert Dogs and what they can accomplish as a franchise. It’s an encouraging sign to see celebrities such as Sterling and Davante Adams attending the games to support the city’s newest franchise.

The Las Vegas Desert Dogs aren’t the only professional sports franchise to join town recently. As within the past five years, Las Vegas has added the Raiders for NFL and the Golden Knights for NHL. Will Vegas continue to expand its sports resume? Is the city becoming a new sports capital of the world along with New York and Los Angeles? Only time will tell, but what I can say confidently is that the Las Vegas lacrosse experience is one I could not recommend enough and I look forward to seeing the Desert Dogs’ growth.