George Kliavkoff explains Pac-12's continued commitment to Las Vegas

On3 imageby:Nick Schultz07/22/23


Las Vegas has been known for its stars throughout the years, from Elvis Presley to The Rat Pack, Wayne Newton and many more. But as it becomes more of a sports town, the Pac-12 is looking to cement its place alongside some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Of course, the conference’s commissioner is no stranger to Las Vegas. Before he took over the Pac-12, George Kliavkoff was the president of MGM Resorts International from 2018-21 and has made Vegas a priority for the league. Now, the conference championship is now played at Allegiant Stadium and the basketball championships take place at T-Mobile Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights. Also, this year, the Pac-12 held its Media Day at Resorts World, and there has also been talk of moving conference headquarters from San Francisco.

It’s all part of Kliavkoff’s plan to build the league’s profile in the city, and he said there’s more to come.

“As you know, I’m from Las Vegas. I love Las Vegas,” Kliavkoff said. “But it’s been great for our fans and for our student-athletes. The experience of coming, playing at Allegiant Stadium, the experience for our men’s and women’s basketball teams of coming and playing in Vegas, their fans having so many opportunities to take advantage of everything that Las Vegas offers is very special.

“It’s also a neutral site. Historically we have not always been in a neutral site for our championships. I think we’ll be bringing more stuff to Vegas.”

How sports are becoming a key part of the Las Vegas experience.

Las Vegas’ profile in the sports world is rising quickly. The Las Vegas Aces won the 2022 WNBA championship, and the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup this year as they’ve taken the city by storm since their first season in 2017. In 2020, the Raiders moved to Vegas from Oakland in 2020 and play at Allegiant Stadium. MLB also could be on the way as the Oakland Athletics are exploring a site along The Strip at the site of the Tropicana Hotel.

It also appears Kliavkoff is aiming to put the Pac-12 in position to integrate college sports into the Las Vegas scene. Last year, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority unanimously approved a one-year extension to the agreement with the Pac-12 to keep the conference championship at Allegiant Stadium.

The game will take place Dec. 1 between the top two teams in the league now that it has done away with divisions.