New Vegas arena nearing completion, NHL team could be next because NHL is crazy

The L.A. Times ran an article on progress on Las Vegas’s new arena on Saturday for some reason — possibly because AEG, owner of the Kings, is building it, or possibly just because it was Saturday and they needed to fill space — and there are two main reasons to click through:

  • A promise of a link to a time-lapse construction video, though all I could find was a webcam of what the arena looks like right now and a video of the groundbreaking that mostly featured a woman in a bikini and a giant shovel.
  • This wonderfully glass-half-full observation, buried in the final paragraph: “Selling hockey in Las Vegas will present challenges in a city built on gambling and lofty dreams, especially after the novelty of a new franchise wears off, and other professional sports leagues are sure to monitor this venture closely. Las Vegas has always been good at reinventing itself, and transforming itself into a hockey city might be its boldest experiment yet.”

Translation: Hockey in the desert hasn’t worked well before, and Las Vegas is a heck of a lot smaller than Phoenix, but Vegas has shown a propensity for just tearing stuff down that doesn’t work and building new stuff, so sure, why not give it a try? I’m still a bit puzzled why AEG is going ahead with funding a $350 million arena with its own money when it’s only projecting at best 140 events a year at the place, and 200 is the more typical breakeven point, but hey, it’s not my money. So long as they don’t ask for a bailout if and when it doesn’t work, that is.

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12 comments on “New Vegas arena nearing completion, NHL team could be next because NHL is crazy

  1. The “View Arena Interior Construction” and “View Arena Exterior Construction” pages on the ArenaLasVegas site both have “Time-Lapse Movie” buttons. Pretty interesting, if you’re into stadiaporn.

  2. Interesting.

    I assume AEG has a plan, since they are mostly spending their own money (and they are to be commended for this, not ridiculed).

    What is the largest current arena in Vegas? I know the Thomas and Mack holds somewhere around 7500 for sports and maybe 1000 or so more for non-sporting events. The MGM Grand can seat somewhere around 16-17k (depending on the event) as I recall. What about Caesars?

    As I believe you’ve noted before, Neil, the new arena would seem to compete directly with MGM’s own arena. But perhaps there is a market for an arena ‘just slightly bigger’ than MGM Grand?

  3. John I think the answer is that MGM Grand Garden isn’t long for this world. Forget where I read it a while back but I think MGM’s long term plan is to demolish the Grand Garden and further expand the resort on site. As if the MGM Grand itself wasn’t already big enough.

  4. Aqib: Yes, I am aware of that. Like I said, it means MGM is effectively competing with itself.

    As Dan suggests, the MGM Grand could be about to make way for something else (I wouldn’t even want to speculate on what…).

    Or perhaps it’s no more complicated than MGM thinking “Somebody is going to build a 20,000 seat modern arena here so we’d better do it first”.

    It wouldn’t be the first time a highly profitable business built itself a new facility for that reason.

  5. Thanks Brian. I guess I was thinking of their bogus hockey setup from some years ago… I’m told it’s undergoing a major renovation right now, though I don’t know if it’s all internal or any significant building changes are being made etc.

  6. I’m buying a beach volleyball team. I’ve narrowed the cities I’m looking to house the team to Saskatoon and Churchill, Manitoba.

  7. Since I actually live here in Vegas, we have way too many venues here in town already. Here is the current list:

    Thomas & Mack Center – 18,000 (which is the largest arena currently in the city)
    MGM Grand Garden Arena – 16,500
    Mandalay Bay Events Center – 11,500
    Orleans Arena – 8,500
    The Coliseum @ Caesar’s – 4,500

    Not including smaller more intimate venues like the Pearl @ Palm’s, The Joint @ The Hard Rock, the near 8,000-seat theater at Planet Hollywood, and countless others. But hey, whatever floats your (in this case, MGM-AEG) boat. Yes, this is a dumb metropolis whose leaders have zero clue.

  8. I’m gonna miss the ol’ MGM arena for UFC. Damn, will it suck to move to this new arena. Neil, who do you have in the Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo fight?

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