Las Vegas

CJ McCollum on gathering teams in Vegas to play: 'You'd have to shut down the strip'

CJ McCollum on gathering teams in Vegas to play: 'You'd have to shut down the strip'

Major League Baseball is working on a plan to bring all its teams to the Phoenix area to begin a season in late May or June and the NBA is rumored to be thinking about doing something similar, perhaps in Las Vegas.

But would that work? Would it be safe?

CJ McCollum was asked about it Wednesday during an online news conference coordinated by the Trail Blazers. And he seemed to have some doubts about just how such a plan could be executed.

“I’m sure if there is a way to do it, they’ll figure it out,” he said. “I’m not sure if there is a way. But what I’m hearing is MLB is looking at certain cities, certain locations. Probably target cities that don’t have a stay-at-home ordinance. There’s probably seven to ten places left in the United States that don’t have a stay-at-home ordinance.”

But it would probably be a very large-scale operation for the city playing host to such an event.

“I think if you did it in Las Vegas you’d have to shut down the strip,” McCollum said. “I don’t know where you could find an area that’s completely isolated from outsiders. And that’s the problem that I think MLB and most sports are facing.”

And putting all those players in one spot for an extended period of time and expecting them to be alone?

“If you quarantine the players individually, you have to make sure they have interactions with no one, right?” he said.  “In a sense, family -- you don’t know where they would be traveling from.

“You’re basically isolating them because they could be asymptomatic carriers. Which could kind of disturb things and kind of throw off the balance of what you’re trying to accomplish.”

At this point, such a plan seems to require so much planning, followed by impeccable execution, it’s hard to imagine that it's workable.

“I don’t know how you do it, personally,” McCollum said. “I think we have people smart enough to figure things out if there is a way.

“I think one of these major sports organizations is going to figure it out.”

But what a puzzle it’s going to be.

Report: NFL Draft to be held in TV studio, leaving the Las Vegas Strip

Report: NFL Draft to be held in TV studio, leaving the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas had grand plans for the 2020 NFL Draft. 

From the stage floating on the water in front of the Bellagio, to players being brought to the stage via boat. It was going to be a spectacle only Sin City could pull off. 

Unfortunately, that spectacular show will have to wait. 

Earlier this week, the Las Vegas Strip shut down to help contain the spread of COVID-19. That decision will impact next month's NFL Draft.

According to reports, the NFL Draft will no longer be held in Las Vegas and the league has plans to hold the draft in a TV studio, while cutting into live looks of the team war rooms. 

According to a memo obtained by the LA Times, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote: “Planning for the Draft is a good example of how we need to think differently, embrace technology and collaborate. We will also use the Draft to help support fans and those people impacted in our communities.”

Following the NFL's announcement, the Las Vegas Raiders and owner Mark Davis issued a statement of their own. "After careful consideration, the Las Vegas Raiders, the NFL, the NFLPA and the LVCVA have decided to cancel the 2020 Las Vegas NFL Draft celebration... Health and safety has always been our top priority, so despite it being a major disappointment, this was the right decision."

The situations we are all dealing with due to the pandemic change by the hour, and we are all forced to adjust.

Las Vegas was supposed to put on the greatest NFL Draft imaginable. Now our imagination is all we have to picture this event. 

The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 23-25.

Pac-12 football championship game moves to Las Vegas in 2020, 2021

Pac-12 football championship game moves to Las Vegas in 2020, 2021

What happens in Vegas... Wins the conference. The 2020 and 2021 Pac-12 Championship game will be hosted in the new home of the Raiders in Las Vegas. 


The Pac-12 Conference today announced that the 2020 and 2021 host site for the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, presented by 76®, will be in Las Vegas at the new home of the Raiders, one of the National Football League’s most state-of-the-art venues. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott made the announcement today during the 2019 Pac-12 Football Media Day in partnership with Las Vegas Stadium and the Raiders, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and MGM Resorts International.  

“Our Pac-12 universities and entire Conference are thrilled to have our 2020 and 2021 football championship event take place in one of the most anticipated new venues in sports,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Highlighting and showcasing our programs on one of the biggest stages in a major destination market is a tremendous opportunity for our student-athletes, universities and fans, and consistent with our mission to create the best possible experiences for student-athletes. We are excited to work with our new partners in the Raiders, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and MGM Resorts International for these events.”

“I want to thank the San Francisco 49ers and Levi’s Stadium for what has been a fantastic five-year run and we look forward to what will be another exciting championship event in Santa Clara this year,” added Scott. “The 49ers and Levi's Stadium have been great partners in building our flagship football event and taking it to new heights."

Today’s announcement marks the second new event to be scheduled for the Las Vegas Stadium which is also set to host the 2020 Las Vegas Bowl, featuring a Pac-12 opponent against either a Big Ten or SEC opponent, after the event moves following the 2019 game. With Las Vegas already hosting the 2020 Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, the 2020 and 2021 football title games will bring the Conference’s championship event to the city for the first time. Serving as home of the Raiders, the 1.75-million-square-foot stadium will also provide the most start-of-the-art facilities for the champions of the Pac-12 North and South divisions as well as a full slate of surrounding entertainment options for fans in attendance. Since the Conference’s move of its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to Las Vegas, the events have drawn sensational crowds and set multiple attendance records.

“As Las Vegas and the Raiders prepare to debut a world-class stadium, the LVCVA is proud to partner with the Raiders and MGM Resorts International to bring the elite Conference of Champions to the destination,” said Steve Hill, CEO and president of the LVCVA.

“The Raiders are excited to host Pac-12 universities and their passionate fans in Las Vegas for the 2020 and 2021 Pac-12 Football Championship Games” said Raiders President Marc Badain. “The Raiders are proud to work alongside the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and MGM Resorts International in helping to bring this showcase event to the newest world-class venue in Las Vegas. We’d like to thank Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and the Pac-12 universities and fans for this tremendous opportunity.”

George Kliavkoff, President of Entertainment & Sports for MGM Resorts International, said, “We have had a long-standing partnership with the Pac-12 that includes hosting the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships.  Pac-12 fans are some of the best in collegiate sports and we are proud to extend our relationship with the Conference and its fans to the football championship games in 2020 and 2021.”

With the venue located in one of the most entertainment-centric cities, fan entertainment both in and outside of the venue is set to provide for a fantastic experience for student-athletes and fans alike. Future locations for the Pac-12 Football Championship Game beyond 2021 will be determined and announced at a later date.

The agreement in principle with Las Vegas is expected to be finalized in the near future.

For this upcoming season, the 2019 Pac-12 Football Championship Game will return to Levi’s Stadium for its sixth straight year. The league’s title game moved to the Silicon Valley venue in 2014 when the stadium opened, the first ever neutral site of the Conference’s football championship game. Over the past five years the event has grown to include a series of ancillary functions, including a complete fan fest, ahead of the game, while providing student-athletes the chance to play in one of the NFL’s newest stadiums.

Tickets for this season’s 2019 Pac-12 Football Championship at Levi’s Stadium go on sale today, Wednesday, July 24 at 10 a.m. PT and are available at The game will take place Friday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. PT More information on ticketing can be found at Fans should call 415-464-9377 ext. 2 to learn more about premium hospitality and group ticket options.

Oregon most bet on team in the NCAA Tournament: Should you take the gamble?

Oregon most bet on team in the NCAA Tournament: Should you take the gamble?

The NCAA Tournament announcement comes with the excitement of filling out your bracket and maybe placing some bets.

Every year, March is a little mad, which causes fans to study and search for their Cinderella(s) and sure bets. Will Saint Mary’s pull the upset over Villanova? Are you picking UC Irvine to be the next UMBC? What about the Ducks?

No. 12 seed Oregon will play No. 5 seed Wisconsin in the first round of the South Region. The latest line has Wisconsin as a 1-point favorite and a 118 total point over/under (lowest of any first-round game in the NCAA Tournament). Turns out, the matchup has become the most bet on game in the NCAA Tournament. 

What should you do?  A look at recent history shows that putting money down for the Ducks has paid out. Oregon has made a drastic change in the last three weeks and are riding an eight-game winning streak into the NCAA Tournament, including four victories to become Pac-12 Tournament champions. Oregon won six of those eight games by double-digits.

Most importantly (for your wallet) in each of those wins, Oregon has covered the spread.

3/16/19 Oregon vs. UW: The Ducks were 1.5-point favorites and beat the Huskies by 20 points.

3/15/19 Oregon vs. ASU: The Ducks were 2-point favorites and beat the Sun Devils by 4 points.

3/14/19 Oregon vs. Utah: The Ducks were 4.5-point favorites and beat the Utes by 12 points.

3/13/19 Oregon vs. WSU: The Ducks were 11.5-point favorites and beat the Cougars by 33 points.

3/9/19 Oregon at UW: The Ducks were 6-point under dogs and beat the Huskies by 8 points.

3/6/19 Oregon at WSU: The Ducks were 7-point favorites and beat the Cougars by 11 points.

3/2/19 Oregon vs. Arizona: The Ducks were 4.5-point favorites and beat the Wildcats by 26 points.

2/28/19 Oregon vs. ASU: The Ducks were 1.5-point favorites and beat the Sun Devils by 28 points.


Another note (for your wallet)… Every game has gone under, except the overtime win against Arizona State in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.

3/16/19 Oregon vs. UW over/under 119.5 total points: Result: 116 points, under

3/15/19 Oregon vs. ASU over/under 134 total points: Result: 154 points, over

3/14/19 Oregon vs. Utah over/under 137 total points: Result: 120 points, under

3/13/19 Oregon vs. WSU over/under 137 total points: Result: 135 points, under

3/9/19 Oregon at UW over/under 124.5 total points: Result: 102 points, under

3/6/19 Oregon at WSU over/under 142.5 total points: Result: 133 points, under

3/2/19 Oregon vs. Arizona over/under 130 total points: Result: 120 points, under

2/28/19 Oregon vs. ASU over/under 138 total points: Result: 130 points, under

(All odds via Bovada)

Oregon’s defensive prowess has become highly entertaining to watch. But can the Ducks slow down Wisconsin’s top offensive player and four-year starter, Ethan Happ? Don’t come pounding on my door if Oregon loses or it goes over, but I had to point out the trend. If you’ve been betting the Ducks and the under, you’ve been making some major money.

Las Vegas gets an NHL team, but we have a "national treasure"

Las Vegas gets an NHL team, but we have a "national treasure"

There's a bit of irony here. While I'm carrying on a social media war about aging Memorial Coliseum being declared a "national treasure," Las Vegas has secured an expansion franchise in the National Hockey League.

This is all so typically Portland. A lot of good people -- and our City Council -- have gotten all fired up about saving an aging structure that is past its prime and not comfortable for spectators, as anyone who has attended an event there can attest. There is basically no political movement, meanwhile, to get involved in attempting to land an NHL team -- the one big-league sport that would not require any further stadium or arena construction because the Moda Center is NHL ready.

Not that Portland isn't long overdue for building a sports venue. The coliseum was opened in 1961 and cost the city just $8 million. As far as I can tell, that's all this city has ever spent on building any sort of sports venue. Sure, it has thrown a lot of money away trying to spruce up what started out as Multnomah Stadium over the years. And public money is going to continue to be dumped into the sinkhole that is the coliseum.

Portland has gotten real good at chasing good money after bad. In fact, I cannot believe the zealots who got the coliseum declared a "historic building" haven't been trying to do the same thing with the old stadium downtown. It's more than a half-century older than the coliseum and has much more charm. And when full, it seems a pretty cool place -- unless you've experienced the comfort of a modern venue.

This city may be the only one in America that has not decided it is beneficial to build public sports venues. But I'm sure many are proud of that, continuing Portland's tradition of seemingly believing that everyone else does things the wrong way and we're the only ones taking the right path.

Anyone who thinks Memorial Coliseum can be renovated ought to visit Providence Park's concourses or stand in line at its rest rooms on a crowded night. You can make all the cosmetic changes you want to these old barns, but you can't do much about the infrastructure, which just can't handle much more of a load.

But a new arena? If Paul Allen hadn't built the Rose Garden, the Trail Blazers would be playing in Seattle right now. Portland would never have been convinced to build the Rose Quarter.  Getting political support for a baseball or football stadium has been impossible. When I was writing a sports column at The Oregonian, it was a crusade of mine -- but I failed, even though there was a significant push for baseball for a short while.

I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you about economic benefits to the city. That argument is worn out. What I'm saying is that getting a big-league franchise in any sport -- and yes,  I mean a BIG LEAGUE, big-four sport -- is expensive for a community. Right or wrong, the rules seem to be that you must build the venue for the wealthy owner to use.

But what's missed is that the venue becomes part of the community. The Moda Center is Portland's real treasure -- it belongs much more to Portland than to Allen. It's the center of this city's culture and nightlife. And it would have been a worthwhile "quality-of-life" civic investment had Allen not put up the money to build it. (And seriously, he can't hitch a big tow truck to it and haul it back to Seattle.)

There is value in the bonding that pro sports brings to a community. Portland is at its best when the Trail Blazer are making a legitimate playoff run. And at the rate this metropolitan area is growing, another franchise -- in hockey, baseball or football -- would prosper and become a big part of the city's culture.

Not that I expect that to happen. I've lived here all my life. It's a city that seems to treasure its checkered past more than its promising future.