MGM, AEG Break Ground On $375M Vegas Arena With Eyes On NHL, NBA Tenants
The "first shovel in the ground for Las Vegas’ first major new arena in 30 years came Thursday during a milestone ground-breaking ceremony," courtesy of MGM Resorts Int'l and AEG, according to Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The $375M, 20,000-seat arena "plans to open" in spring '16. Officials from MGM and AEG have "crafted a business plan to tap a steady stream of mixed martial arts and boxing, concerts, award shows, college basketball and hockey tournaments and other sports." They anticipate "about 100-150 events per year." UFC plans to hold "five or six annual fight shows at the new arena." AEG President & CEO Dan Beckerman said that financing for the arena "was finalized with Bank of America." Snel notes AEG has "never announced an arena project and not built it." AEG and MGM each brought $75M in cash "to the table" for this arena deal. MGM Resorts Chair & CEO Jim Murren said that the project increased to $375M from the original $350M price because both parties "agreed to add upscale seating areas and a nightclub." Las Vegas’ current inventory of sports venues -- 38,000-seat Sam Boyd Stadium, 18,500-seat Thomas & Mack Center and 9,300-seat Cashman Field -- are "functional sports buildings [but] lack the major revenue-generating bells and whistles of newer venues." The MGM-AEG arena will be "built with a wide array of money-making food and beverage features and high-end seating options, ranging from spacious clubs and 50 luxury suites to more than 25 luxury loge boxes and multiple outdoor balconies." It also will be "built to NBA and NHL specifications." Meanwhile, Beckerman said that talks are "underway for a naming rights deal for the arena and AEG has already started suite sales" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/2). The AP's Michelle Rindels noted the arena will be the "centerpiece of an 8-acre, tree-lined entertainment and dining district dubbed 'The Park.'" It is "located near the New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos" on the Las Vegas Strip. Murren said the new site will "dramatically increase the allure" of Las Vegas among sports franchises (AP, 5/1).
UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE: NHL Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille, whose club is owned by AEG and was at the groundbreaking, said that the league is "monitoring the arena's status and Las Vegas' viability" as a potential host for a franchise. Robitaille said, "This new arena, I think, puts Vegas over the top. It is going to be a great place for hockey, and we wouldn’t object to the NHL putting a team here someday" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/2).