When the Las Vegas Wranglers move to new ice downtown, team owners will invest $4 million in a 45,000-square-foot, fabric-shell structure to house a hockey rink and seating for 3,500 on the roof of the Plaza Hotel casino.
That would be here, where the basketball and tennis courts are now. The building below was formerly a parking structure, so is overengineered enough to support an ice rink plus 3,500 people, according to Wranglers president Billy Johnson.
This is easy to laugh at — in fact, let’s do it now — but it’s actually a lot crazier to build entire new buildings for sports teams that don’t exist than to come up with a temporary tent to house a team that may or may not survive the next few years. (Not to demean the Wranglers or their fans in any way, but minor-league hockey teams aren’t exactly a secure long-term investment.) Spending $4 million on a space to play in (the casino will get a cut of concessions revenue) is far more in the budget of a minor-league franchise, and the Wranglers deserve some props for thinking outside the box. Though I do wonder whether in Vegas it’s going to be so hot outside the box that we’re likely to see a repeat of this.