MGM and AEG announce $350m Vegas arena to host absolutely nobody

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.

6 comments on “MGM and AEG announce $350m Vegas arena to host absolutely nobody

  1. When they’re privately financed, I really don’t have a problem.

    This is described as “off-strip”, but really, it’s not all that far. I’ve walked to that spot many times. I honestly think they can make a go of this. It would work better with an NBA team, but Vegas has so many shows and conventions, I think they’ll hit that magical 120 events/year pretty easily.

    Frankly, there’s no way AEG would be involved in a privately-financed venture like this if they didn’t feel pretty good about it. This is simply not controversial in the same way the Raiders deal or the Magic deal was/is.

    It’ll work for the same reason Staples works: 150 nights a year before anyone even starts begging for shows to hit it. There’s a reason some projects are privately financed — someone thinks it’ll work. If that very same someone didn’t think it’d work, they’d be in front of the Council already.

  2. It’s sure a good thing that there’s plenty of conventions and whatnot in vegas to support both this monstrosity as well as their current expansion of the #1 most popular convention center.

  3. Hrm…. the Maloofs suddenly have a fair amount of money and were supposedly interested in bringing the NHL to Las Vegas (you know, after they were interested in bringing their NBA team there).

    Chris Hansen’s not foolish enough to put a shovel down in Seattle until he has an NBA team secured. AEG, apparently, is willing to do so in Las Vegas, at risk of being Kansas City-ed .

    Does this mean Seattle NBA/NHL hopefuls might end up a few paces behind the Las Vegas sports fans when it comes to woo-ing ?

  4. Well, the NBA isn’t as gung ho about towards expansion as the NHL is but it’s been rumored that if there is indeed NBA expansion, there will be 2nd team to keep the league at an even number. Vegas would seem to be the perfect 2nd team to join Seattle if this arena gets off the ground.