That MGM/AEG arena in Las Vegas that was first rumored back in March to be announced soon? It’s actually happening, or at least the announcement has actually happened: The two companies announced yesterday that they’re moving ahead with building a $350 million, 20,000-seat arena on the Strip, to be completed by spring 2016. And unlike the Caesars Entertainment arena plan that was killed last year, MGM and AEG claim this one will be built using entirely private money.
Whether that’s true or how it will work — especially without an NBA or NHL team as an anchor tenant — remains to be seen: The arena’s project manager says the model is Sprint Center in Kansas City, which despite being jam-packed with concert booking still doesn’t come close to repaying all the public money that that city pumped into it. I guess it’s conceivable that Las Vegas draws enough tourists with money burning a hole in their pockets that MGM can make money by selling tons of tickets to tons of events, a la the Brooklyn Nets‘ Barclays Center (though that has an NBA team to fill 41 nights, plus soon an NHL team to fill another 41). Or maybe it’ll be a loss leader to get people into MGM’s casinos. Who really knows — when it comes to Vegas economics … I was going to say “all bets are off,” but that’s probably not the right wording.