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National Finals Rodeo may leave Las Vegas after 29 years

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After 29 years in Las Vegas, the annual National Finals Rodeo (NFR) performances may move to Florida beginning in Dec. 2015. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA - governing body of the NFR) board voted to decline the Las Vegas offer to extend their contract with the city in an announcement initially made yesterday (Dec.16,2013) by the Associated Press. The nine-member board voted 6 to 3 to decline the Vegas offer. The PRCA is currently negotiating a contract with Osceola County, Florida (south of Orlando) as a possible replacement locale for the NFR.

The city of Las Vegas has 90 days to counter the Florida bid and must produce an extra $4 million in order to match the current Florida offer. The city's Las Vegas Events group indicated that amount would force a 40% increase in ticket prices and might price fans out of the market. Some economists point out that the NFR is a unique event that fans might be willing to pay more for.

If the move occurs, the local community will sorely miss the $100 million economic impact derived from the annual December event. The annual 10-day event has provided a huge boost to the local Las Vegas economy in early December when it has been sorely needed to compensate for historically slower tourism activity during that time window. In 2012, the NFR event drew nearly 53,000 out-of-town visitors and more than 175,000 tickets were sold for performances at the Thomas & Mack Center venue.

After consideration of the importance of this event to the local Vegas community in early December each year, we'll speculate that the city and the PRCA will find a way to keep the NFR in Las Vegas. We'll see.



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