SBD/June 3, 2014/Facilities

New Las Vegas Arena To Be Heavy On Suites; NHL Expansion A Fit For Sin City?

AEG execs expect eight or 10 founding partners to be the arena’s major sponsors
AEG Chief Revenue Officer Todd Goldstein said that he is “already talking with prospective buyers” of 45 suites in the $375M arena that his company and MGM Resorts Int’l are building in Las Vegas, according to Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Goldstein said that 18-22% of the arena’s 20,000 seats will be “unique seating” in suites and clubs, and that suite prices will “range from the low six figures to low seven figures.” He expects that 60% of the suites will be “sold to Las Vegas-area and gaming industry companies.” Meanwhile, Goldstein said he expects a “unique brand with international appeal” to buy the naming rights and eight or 10 "founding partners" to be the arena’s major sponsors. He added that AEG wants to “massage revenue from space on the many outdoor balconies, which could be offered as ticketed spaces for watching music and other events on the plaza that will lead fans from the Strip to the arena entrance." Snel noted the company is “looking at the NBA Summer League as a potential event at its new arena.” AEG Vice Chair and Chief Legal & Development Officer Ted Fikre “envisions an NBA All-Star Game and NBA Draft events at the arena.” Construction “should take 22 months,” setting up a spring ’16 opening. MGM Resorts and AEG are “content to open the new arena in Las Vegas without a major tenant like a sports team.” AEG CEO Dan Beckerman: “We have boots on the ground in Las Vegas. We understand the market. The arena needs to appeal to everyone. (The arena) will be neutral, whether the guest is a local or a visitor." AEG also is "eyeing the National Finals Rodeo, a key revenue-maker that draws about 180,000 fans" to Thomas & Mack Center (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/1).

THE GOOD OLD HOCKEY GAME: ESPN.com’s Craig Custance wrote of potential NHL expansion, “Vegas will certainly be in consideration, but an examination of the market suggests there are much bigger risks involved with putting a team in Las Vegas than there are with Seattle. Even if the NHL becomes the first major professional sport in town.” There is “no doubt that the casinos could help pump up season-ticket sales for a Las Vegas NHL team, but that’s not necessarily good for the league.” Custance: “The last thing you want is for the Las Vegas franchise to turn into the Washington Generals, with visiting tourists just rooting for the opposing team every night.” If the city is “ever going to land an NHL team, it’s going to be because the league has been convinced that the demographics show that the local fan base is strong enough for season tickets to be sold to residents and fans of the team, not the casinos” (ESPN.com, 5/30).
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