There have been plenty of rumors about people trying to lure an NHL team – expansion or otherwise – to Las Vegas. The latest story came Thursday, as an exec from MGM Resorts acknowledged “preliminary talks” with a group hoping to accomplish just that, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Fox 5 Vegas reported.
“We would be supportive of an NHL team coming to our arena,” MGM Resorts International Dan D’Arrigo said. “We’re highly interested and we have been in discussions with a group.”
D’Arrigo didn’t speculate about whether such a scenario would involve relocating a current team or gaining an expansion franchise.
Here’s an interesting tidbit, though: MGM is teaming up with AEG (owner of the Los Angeles Kings) to bring a $350 million arena to Las Vegas. This post’s main image is an artist’s rendering of what such an arena might look like, while the Las Vegas Review-Journal shared this video from the groundbreaking in May:
“It’s a big day for Las Vegas. It’s a big day for Nevada. It’s a big day for entertainment,” MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said. “We need to create the experience tourists are so yearning for. They want to be wowed.”
Again, this is far from the first time Vegas moguls have been tied to NHL expansion/relocation rumors, yet it’s interesting to see executives publicly acknowledging such interest.
One week ago, billionaire William Foley’s name was being thrown around, possibly in a potential deal to relocate the Arizona Coyotes. The NHL fired such talk down and has repeatedly denied expansion rumors in general, yet commissioner Gary Bettman admitted back in June that the league would look at Las Vegas “more closely” if expansion does become a reality.
(Click here for more Bettman on Vegas from May.)
There hasn’t been a specific response to this specific situation, which isn’t surprising since MGM hasn’t named the potentially interested group and seems to merely be dipping its toes in the water.
In the odd chance this situation comes to fruition and an NHL team ends up calling that MGM/AEG-owned arena its home, here’s a request on behalf of beat reporters repeatedly beleaguered by the Columbus Blue Jackets cannon: play the sound of slot machines pouring out coins after a home-team goal instead of the MGM lion growl:
NBC’s Dan Patrick says Las Vegas will have an NHL team by 2016
NHL-to-Vegas talks gained steam in August
Vegas talk from back in 2013
The Kings haven’t been shy about playing in Sin City
The market was hyped as a good spot for hockey even back in 2011