By no means are we saying it’s likely to happen, but the odds of an NHL team one day calling Las Vegas home have to be better after today’s announcement that AEG and MGM Resorts International have teamed up to build a 20,000-seat arena on the Vegas Strip.
From the release:
The arena is expected to break ground in summer 2014, with the grand opening projected for spring 2016. The project is anticipated to cost approximately $350 million and be financed with equity contributions from each of the partners as well as privately funded third-party financing.
AEG, of course, owns half of the Los Angeles Kings. It also manages the Sprint Center in Kansas City, which has, in the past, been touted as a possible home for a relocation or expansion NHL franchise.
Granted, a Vegas arena probably wouldn’t need a full-time sports tenant, be it hockey or basketball, to make money. (We’ve heard they have the odd concert and convention in that town.)
But until this point, speculation of an NHL team moving to Vegas has been limited as there was no suitable arena, or a plan to build one.
“Some league will be here,” commissioner Gary Bettman said back in 2009. “Somebody’s going to be first, but the stadium/arena issues, I think until they resolve, will preclude any serious consideration.”