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PBR Finals leaving Las Vegas for Texas starting in 2022

The Pro Bull Riders World Finals is leaving Las Vegas, with this year’s Nov. 3 to 7 event at T-Mobile Arena ending a decadeslong agreement between Las Vegas and the tour.

An official announcement is expected Tuesday. A Las Vegas tourism official confirmed the PBR was leaving and would hold its finals at a site in Texas beginning in 2022.

He gave a one-word answer when asked why the PBR was leaving — money. Apparently there will be more of it in Texas. A Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority spokesman said the tourism group would wait until after the official announcement before commenting.

Las Vegas has been home to the PBR championship event since the event’s inception in 1994. The MGM Grand Garden was the site until 1999, at which time the event moved to the Thomas & Mack Center. T-Mobile Arena hosted its first PBR Finals in 2016.

Last year’s event was relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, amid COVID-19 and Nevada’s restrictions on live spectator events. The finals were contested during the Cowboys’ bye week.

The PBR formed in 1992 when a group of 20 bull riders broke away from the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association.

The PRCA’s marquee event, the National Finals Rodeo, moved from Oklahoma City to the Thomas & Mack in 1985. The NFR in 2019 generated an estimated economic impact of $187 million, according to the LVCVA.

Last year’s NFR was switched to Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, home of MLB’s Texas Rangers, amid the pandemic. In return for helping facilitate the temporary move to Texas, a year was added to Las Vegas’ NFR contract that now expires in 2025.

The PBR Finals run for five days and do not approach generating the kind of economic impact the NFR does. Attendance has fluctuated in recent years for the PBR, even though it remains strong. Total attendance in 2019 was 72,300, with approximately 18,700 attending from out of state.

The LVCVA said those visitors were responsible for $28.6 million in direct spending.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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