MGM Resorts Officially Buys WNBA Stars, Will Move Team From San Antonio To Las Vegas
MGM Resorts officially "has purchased" the WNBA Stars and "will move the franchise to Las Vegas" beginning with the '18 season, according to a front-page piece by Adam Hill of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The move from San Antonio, which has "been in the works for several months, already has been approved" by the WNBA and NBA BOG. The Stars will play home games at Mandalay Bay Events Center. MGM Resorts Chief Experience & Marketing Officer Lilian Tomovich said that the venue was a "better fit than MGM’s other options in the same vicinity, the Grand Garden Arena and T-Mobile Arena." Tomovich: "Mandalay Bay is a smaller, more intimate arena with about 12,000 seats. We feel it’s the absolute right size arena for the fans to have that intimate experience to come watch basketball.” Tomovich added, "We’ve had a very long, successful relationship with the NBA, starting with the summer league and of course, preseason exhibition games. Bringing a WNBA team here to Las Vegas just seemed like a natural evolution for us." Hill notes the WNBA’s entrance in the market is the "latest in a wave of professional sports announcements in Las Vegas" following the arrival of the Golden Knights (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/18). WNBA President Lisa Borders said, "Having the opportunity for a franchise to play in such an outstanding market as Las Vegas and partner with an owner and operator like MGM Resorts International is amazing for us" (USA TODAY, 10/18).
QUESTIONS LEFT TO BE ANSWERED: ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel noted it is unknown if the "team's nickname will stay the same" or what the club's "colors or uniforms will look like" in Las Vegas. However, the move will put "another team back in the Pacific time zone, so now there are four." It remains to be seen "how much and how quickly the WNBA will be embraced" in Vegas." There will be "no NBA 'big brother' for the Las Vegas WNBA team as there was in San Antonio, but that may be more a positive than a negative." The Spurs "seemed to drown out the Stars more than help illuminate them." The Stars' sale and move means there are just "five WNBA teams left that are owned and operated in conjunction with NBA franchises" -- the Fever, Liberty, Lynx, Mercury and Mystics (ESPN.com, 10/17).