MSG to build concerts-only arena in Vegas, because three arenas with no pro team wasn’t enough

Las Vegas just opened its third arena without a pro sports team to play in any of them, plus it’s considering building a pro football stadium, plus it has yet another arena (with a retractable roof!) that broke ground in 2014 and then has never been heard from again. So you know what that city really needs? Another arena:

[Madison Square Garden] announced Wednesday that it will build a 17,500-seat arena just off the Las Vegas Strip…

The new venue is a partnership among Madison Square Garden Co., Sands Corp., Azoff MSG Entertainment, concert promoter Live Nation and Oak View Group, an entertainment advisory firm.

“This will be a state-of-the-art venue of the future, an entertainment-only venue,” O’Connor told The Times.

On the one hand, this is not entirely crazy, because MSG successfully remodeled the L.A. Forum as a concert-only venue, and certainly they and Live Nation know something about the concert business. (The plan is for this new as-yet-un-price-tagged arena to have all its seats in front of the stage, so really “arena-sized theater” might be a better description.) On the other hand, it is completely crazy, because even if Las Vegas is a huge tourist destination, how many arena concerts can one city reasonably host? Even New York City only has three arenas (four if you count the Nassau Coliseum), and New York has like five times as many people living there as Vegas would have even if you double-booked all its hotel rooms.

This can only end with at least one of the Vegas arenas eventually going out of business. The good news, at least if you believe MSG officials, is that this will involve no public money, so it’s just the sort of crazy land rush that corporations would occasionally engage in even if subsidies didn’t exist. At least in Vegas, because that place apparently makes even corporate bean counters lose their minds.


9 comments on “MSG to build concerts-only arena in Vegas, because three arenas with no pro team wasn’t enough

  1. I can see this arena being a huge success. There are a lot of UFC fans, like myself, who prefer Las Vegas for shows, even above going to shows locally. Local shows can be a drag for adults because you naturally try to fit the show in to your normal schedule. Las Vegas shows can be part of a vacation. I think many music acts have fans who feel the same way.

    What’s interesting to me is how early on in the process the announcement is coming. my guess is that Azoff was under pressure to get acts into the new MGM/AEG arena on the Strip, and wanted to prevent any long term deals from being signed.

  2. I’m hearing the NHL is having problems with expansion and Vegas might not even get a team anymore unless they relocate the Coyotes or Hurricanes. It’s not like they need another team in the desert but I’m sure Bettman will be crushed if it doesn’t happen.

  3. When Dolan’s new Chase Garden draft pick from Albany Joe Percoco winds up with Shelly Silver and his Newsday’s new war with buddy Andy Cuomo (esculating) from their editorial board say good bye to any Penn Station scheme and the operating permit revoked along with a nice vote to revoke the Dolan’s tax exemption very soon.

    Rangers may need that arena come 2021 in Vegas.

  4. Five NY area arenae with the Nassau Coliseum:

    Izod Center
    Prudential Center
    MSG
    Barclays Center
    Nassau Coliseum

    I don’t think that the Izod Center is permanently closed.

    We’ll see, though!

  5. I will be stunned if Izod reopens as a full-sized arena, and even more stunned if it stays open more than a couple of years as such. There’s no business model for it in a world with MSG, Barclays, and Prudential.

  6. A few years ago, when the first Majestic/UNLV stadium was proposed, it would’ve included Thomas & Mack either being demo’d entirely or repurposed for some sort of mixed-use development and Rebel basketball moving to the stadium, which back then was planned as being convertible from a 50,000 seater to 20,000 (similar to Saitama Super Arena in Japan.) With the Sands as a part of this, maybe there’s a plan to move UNLV basketball to either the new proposed dome or working with MGM to put basketball in one of their strip arenas. I’d assume the dome (if built) will eventually host the NFR, so if there’s an acceptable home for UNLV to move basketball a couple of miles off campus, Thomas & Mack becomes the most expendable, even without taking into account age/condition/redevelopment opportunities to UNLV and Majestic.

  7. Kind of crazy but I suppose as long as no public funds are being used, they can knock themselves out.

    Although I’m sure AEG and MSG aren’t bankrolling these arena projects without bank loans. In that respect, it still somewhat puts taxpayers at risk when these projects don’t pencil out or banks make bad loans (see subprime mortgage crisis).

    Time will tell.

  8. Can we say 2007 all over again? This town will never learn. There are over 20 venues with a seating capacity 2,000 or greater already on or near the Las Vegas Strip already. Some of these venues survive only on residencies. Shows are already overpriced. Visitation is up but revenue is down. You ask Adelson representatives why this venue will be privately-financed and the stadium won’t be and their reply is the entertainment the venues will hold are not the same. Last I checked, the colour of U.S. currency is green.

    Oh and don’t forget the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which is already pulling large-scale events and will continue to do so. I continue to ask this question that no one in Las Vegas can answer: who is going to pay for all this?

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