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PBR World Finals could relocate from Las Vegas to host fans

There could be no bucking in Las Vegas this fall as the annual Professional Bull Riders World Finals could relocate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similar to the National Finals Rodeo, the PBR said Tuesday it could host this year’s event, slated to occur Nov. 4-8 at T-Mobile Arena, in another city in order to include fans since Nevada does not yet allow crowds at sporting events.

“Our first priority is to exhaust all options to keep PBR World Finals in the city of Las Vegas where we have held our world championship since the inception of the sport,” PBR Commissioner Sean Gleason told the Review-Journal Tuesday. “In the event that PBR has no other options, we may be forced to look at other venues for the 2020 World Finals.”

The PBR World Finals were first held at the MGM Grand Garden from 1994-1998, then at Thomas & Mack Center from 1999-2015. It has occurred at its new home, T-Mobile Arena, since 2016.

Last year’s event drew 72,300 people over the multiple day event, with approximately 18,700 attendees hailing from out of state, according to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority data.

Those visitors were responsible for $28.6 million in direct spending, the LVCVA said.

Losing the PBR and NFR would be a one-two-punch to Las Vegas’ economy as what’s known as the “Super Bowl of rodeo” already announced it cannot have fans attend the 10-day event in Las Vegas slated to occur Dec. 3 to 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The NFR is a big visitor draw for the normally quiet December in Las Vegas, and generates an estimated $200 million in economic impact. The accompanying Cowboy Christmas gift show was canceled Tuesday, with the NFR not able to feature fans this year in Sin City.

Because fans are not a possibility this year, the NFR is exploring its options, polling fans last week about their preferred options for the event.

“While it is unfortunate that Las Vegas is unable to host the Wrangler NFR with fans in 2020, we would like to get your feedback for potentially hosting in another destination,” a post from the NFR’s Twitter account said Friday.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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