Las Vegas Arena

Professional Bull Riders 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals

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bula

November 2-6, 2016

Las Vegas Arena

Las Vegas, NV

The 2016 Built Ford Tough Series comes to a close in Las Vegas, NV as the PBR World Finals return to Sin City for an exciting weekend this fall! The richest bull riding event in the history of Western sports will once again showcase the Top 35 bull riders in the world, all competing for their share of the $2.3 million total purse, while going up against the best bulls in the business. One man will receive $250,000 as the PBR World Finals event winner, one bull will receive $50,000 as the PBR World Champion Bull and one man will become the overall 2016 PBR World Champion, receiving a $1 million bonus and the coveted world champion gold buckle.

 

 

Get Tickets Here!!

Las Vegas Hockey

$500 million price tag to bring NHL team here may be too hefty

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The Maloof family has agreed to sell the Kings to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen, the league confirmed in a statement Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. The arena would be located near CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field. (HOK)
In an image provided by 360 Architecture Inc., a view of Seattle includes the preliminary preferred design for a new arena being planned to house an NBA basketball team,… More

An overlooked item causing behind-the-scenes consternation on the local arena front is a $500 million fee the NHL is now supposedly demanding for expansion franchises. Reports out of Las Vegas since January have also tossed around that same $500 million figure in reference to putting a team there.
Inside sports business

An overlooked item causing behind-the-scenes consternation on the local arena front is a $500 million fee the NHL is now supposedly demanding for expansion franchises.

This price has been quoted to me too many times by folks involved in arena discussions here not to have validity. Reports out of Las Vegas since January have also tossed around that same $500 million figure in reference to putting a team there.

A few weeks ago, I asked NHL commissioner Gary Bettman whether a $500 million fee could hinder groups working to bring hockey to new markets. I mean, just last fall the debate was whether $350 million was too high.

Bettman told me he has no problem with a $500 million fee.

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“Franchise values in all sports have been increasing rather dramatically,’’ Bettman said. “From your question, you seem to be inferring that that would be a lot of money for an NHL team. I happen to believe that that number — not that I’m confirming or denying it — would be not a lot of money.

“I think NHL franchises should be worth at least that much.’’

That’s fine and dandy for the league. But for those trying to build an arena here, where a new NHL franchise would start as the city’s fourth or fifth most popular team, that’s some hefty sticker shock.

And whether it’s an arena in the Sodo District of Seattle or in Tukwila, paying a $500 million fee complicates matters.

It’s one reason Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has yet to receive an “NHL first” plan from Sodo builder Chris Hansen that “pencils out” financially. Also, it’s why skeptical eyes are now on Tukwila arena builder Ray Bartoszek, wondering where his money will come from.

A good arena costs $500 million before factoring in teams that actually draw the paying customers.

Bartoszek can talk all he wants about getting his arena built first and worrying later about paying for teams. But when the cheapest of those — the hockey team — costs $500 million, that’s a billion-dollar investment before Bartoszek can hope to make money.

The Seattle City Council already was leery about the NHL as a moneymaker back when the going expansion team rate was estimated at below $300 million. That’s why there’s no “NHL first” provision in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Hansen, the city and King County.

And forget the “collateral” theory that says the higher the franchise value, the better for the city should Hansen ultimately default on paying off municipal bonds used to build his arena. Cities aren’t in the business of running pro teams and too much would have to go wrong with Hansen’s arena for the city to wind up “owning” an NHL franchise via collateral.

The whole point of the city putting us through this years-long exercise is because it wants any arena to ultimately succeed. And one way Hansen and would-be NHL partner Victor Coleman can avoid worst-case scenarios is to not overpay for a hockey team and be forever struggling to recoup that cost.

That’s why, I suspect, you’re now seeing city politicians like Murray and Tim Burgess suggest Hansen and Coleman get as close to an all-privately-funded venture as possible. If they want to overpay for the NHL, best do it on their own dime.

Same with Bartoszek in Tukwila. As long as it’s his money, nobody cares much about the gamble.

Unlike the NBA, the NHL is more gate-driven with some of sport’s highest ticket prices. You’ll need fans paying those over 41 home dates, even with the Seahawks, Mariners, football Huskies and Sounders more entrenched locally.

As for local television, the Mariners and ROOT Sports run the show. Hansen may have once envisioned his own regional sports network (RSN), but that ship sailed when the Mariners took ownership of ROOT Sports in April 2013.

This city isn’t big enough for two team-owned networks.

Even if Hansen were to team up with Comcast, the broader, satellite-based distribution system enjoyed by ROOT Sports would give it a major advantage in any head-to-head battle here.

So, no RSN ownership for Hansen or Bartoszek. They’ll have to show games on ROOT Sports and collect whatever fees they can negotiate.

Sounds bleak, huh? Well, not really.

You don’t see many pro sports owners going broke when they control arena or stadium revenues. Tax breaks, not to mention additional revenue from adding hotels, restaurants and other entertainment nearby still makes sports a goldmine if done right.

It just isn’t foolproof. The Phoenix Coyotes and Florida Panthers are ongoing NHL evidence of that.

So, concern over what the fifth most popular team in Seattle might cost is real. Expect that to be put up for continued negotiation.

And don’t count on Bettman rolling over. The league knows whatever Seattle or Las Vegas pays will set the bar for bigger cash grabs in markets elsewhere.

That means, the group getting a team here could be the first one that says “yes” to paying $500 million.

And from all accounts, no one is quite sure yet how to do that and still make the entire project work.

Las Vegas Arena

Las Vegas Fight Weekend

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No single moment can capture the moral and spiritual rain cloud that hovered over the Floyd Mayweather–Manny Pacquiao fight. But let’s give it a shot. After Mayweather won Saturday night, in exactly the methodical, efficient way that Manny fans had feared, the arena was cleared. Then Floyd Mayweather Sr., the champ’s trainer, wandered in. He was looking for an audience.

“I just know my son should be treated better,” Floyd Sr. told a few reporters.

“I never got the kind of accolades that Freddie Roach is getting,” Floyd Sr. said. “Freddie Roach is a joke, blowing smoke, with no hope.”

Nobody laughed.

Is Floyd Jr. simply too good? a reporter asked. “Maybe that’s the truth!” Floyd Sr. said, brightening. “Sometimes things be so good, people don’t appreciate it until it’s over and done.”Students of the Mayweather family will recognize this odd mix of strutting machismo and runaway martyr complex. Floyd Sr. rambled about the drug testing that delayed the fight for five years. “Tonight, everything was random,” he said. “Random piss, random everything.”

Floyd Sr. feigned that he didn’t remember Pacquiao’s big left in the fourth, one of the few memorable punches of the night. “Did my son’s knees buckle? … I didn’t see that.”

Would there be a rematch? “[Pacquiao] would never beat him, believe me. He don’t have this” (Floyd Sr. tapped a single finger on his forehead).

Boxers and their handlers aren’t obliged to come out after an event and write the odes for their opponents’ Hall of Fame plaques. We forfeit that expectation when we ask them to beat each other senseless for two hours. But Floyd Sr.’s monologue was so casually cruel, so inane — it was the random piss of post-fight interviews — that I began to remember just why the Fight of the Century made so many people so queasy from the start.

Has there ever been a once-in-a-lifetime sporting event that made everyone feel worse than Mayweather-Pacquiao? There were calls for a boycott because of Mayweather’s domestic abuse allegations and convictions. More calls for a boycott when press credentials were yanked away from Mayweather’s critics on the eve of the fight. If you accept the media story line that Floyd Jr. called “the guy versus the Devil” (Pacquiao the former, Mayweather the latter), the Devil won. Easily. We barely needed to look at the cards.

The exciting early rounds of the fight offered the possibility, however ridiculous, that it could be a vehicle for moral vengeance. The Devil might go down. But here was the Devil Sr. celebrating a blowout. And how would he describe Pacquiao’s performance tonight?

“Terrible,” Floyd Sr. said.

Las Vegas Arena

Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight will reportedly pull in $74 million at gate

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Latest Las Vegas Arena News
Pacquiao fight is shaping to be the biggest of all-time. The money grab that is Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s welterweight bout with Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 2 will reap even more bread than had originally been thought.

According to ESPN.com, the MGM Grand Garden Arena is being configured so that the live gate will net around $ 74 million.

If this holds true, it would more than triple the previous all-time live gate record for a prize fight: a touch over $20 million when Mayweather faced Saul (Canelo) Alvarez in 2013.

Money-wise, the May 2 Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight is shaping to be the biggest of all-time.

Money-wise, the May 2 Floyd Mayweather-Manny

The fight is also expected to generate more than $400 million and will likely shatter the record for pay-per-view buys previously held for Mayweather’s bout with Oscar De La Hoya at 2.4 million purchases in 2007.

The May 2 PPV is also expected to generate more than $150 million in profits, surpassing the previous record set by Mayweather-Alvarez. The bout will be broadcast jointly by HBO and Showtime.

The demand for the fight is so great that Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum told the Daily News that no complementary tickets would be given away, even to celebrities.

Regarding the much-publicized news that Arum will give mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey a freebie for the fight, Arum said that wasn’t exactly the case since he would have to pay for the ticket with his own money and then give it to Rousey.

“That’s how crazy this thing is,” he said.

Mayweather, 38, and Pacquiao, 36, are regarded as the two greatest and most popular fighters of their generation.

Arena Football

Arena-style football has a style of its own

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Two of the neat things about arena-style football are that the ball looks like a giant walnut, and that it gives guys from small colleges a chance to continue chasing dreams.

It’s sort of like the Truck Series in NASCAR, or the Web.com Tour in golf, or the lounge in the Holiday Inn on the outskirts of town for the singer-songwriter still trying to get discovered and signed to a record deal. Only with dasher boards and end zone nets.

When the third iteration of Las Vegas indoor football debuts tonight — it’ll be your Las Vegas Outlaws waging 50-yard indoor war against the San Jose SaberCats at 7:30 at the Thomas &Mack Center — the most recognizable of the Outlaws will be team principal Vince Neil, former front man of Motley Crue, who will sing the national anthem.

The players aren’t nearly as recognizable, though some have multiple tattoos like the owner.

The Las Vegas team has two guys from Iowa and one each from others schools of which you’ve heard: Florida, Michigan State, South Carolina, Colorado State, Purdue, Kansas, Cal, Wyoming, UNR.

One of the Outlaws’ quarterbacks is an Ivy Leaguer, representing Columbia.

The rest are from smaller schools or mere dots on the college football map: Appalachian State, North Dakota State, Idaho State, MidAmerica Nazarene, New Mexico Highlands, Hampton, Panhandle State.

The Outlaws have all points of the compass covered: Northern (Iowa) and Southern (Utah and Charleston); Eastern (Oregon) and Western (New Mexico).

Western New Mexico is the school from which I was graduated. The entrance requirement was that one must be breathing, or have maintained around a C-minus average in high school.

I knew a lot of the football players. Some were pretty good, but I never imagined them playing professionally. I mostly imagined them downing a pony keg of beer in one sitting. Especially the offensive linemen.

So I will be keeping an eye tonight on Wesley Mauia, No. 17. He’s the guy who went to Western New Mexico.

He’ll be one of two people in the arena who knows the only things between El Paso, Texas, and the Western New Mexico campus in Silver City are Las Cruces, Deming and lots and lots of sagebrush. And the Grant County airport, a forlorn place about 15 miles from town where if you missed your flight on Frontier, you had to wait 24 hours for the next one.

Outside. In the sage. With coyotes.

“When you’re driving out there, all you can see are your headlights,” Wes Mauia said.

Tell me about it.

It’s safe to say that Vince Neil and the Crue never played a gig at the Fine Arts Center Theatre smack dab in the middle of the Western New Mexico campus.

I recall two concerts during my four years (or so) there: Michael Martin Murphey, who sang about a horse called “Wildfire,” and this band Ace, which had a hit called “How Long (Has This Been Going On).” Then they became a country act.

So this was where Was Mauia played college football in virtual obscurity.

Make it abject obscurity.

After that he wanted like the rest of us to put off getting a real job for as long as he could. He tried out for his hometown Arizona Rattlers; they liked how he smacked guys into the dasher boards, but their roster was set.

His brother knew a guy who worked for the indoor football team in San Antonio. So that’s where Mauia began playing football indoors. He since has played for indoor teams in San Jose and New Orleans.

The League of Opportunity. That’s what Arena Football sometimes calls itself.

One season, 11 of the 18 all-Arena selections were from the nonpower conferences. Dot-on-the-map guys. It’s like that a lot of seasons. Indoor football is tailor-made for guys from small colleges who are an inch short or a step slow. Or too stubborn to admit it.

Everybody sort of remembers Kurt Warner played college football at Northern Iowa, and then he bagged groceries, and then he played arena football for the Iowa Barnstormers before playing in the Super Bowl and becoming a two-time NFL Most Valuable Player.

But for every Kurt Warner there are dozens of Wes Mauias, guys who still have a passion for the game, a passion for, as he puts it, “putting on a uniform with your name on the back” and slamming guys into dasher boards.

Wes Mauia is 29 now. He knows time is running out on his football dream.

“One more season,” he says.

He may or may not have said that last season. He may or may not say it again next season.

He admits to thinking about getting a real job, something a little easier on the body than slamming guys into dasher boards for a small paycheck and a free health club membership.

He said he’s thinking about becoming a fireman.

Las Vegas Arena

A formal announcement expected ‘soon’ regarding Vegas expansion

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 Prospective NHL owner Bill Foley is confident in his plans to land an expansion franchise in Las Vegas.

“There will be a formal announcement soon,” Foley told TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Foley and his Hockey Vision Las Vegas group announced earlier this month that their drive to secure 10,000 season ticket deposits had exceeded the 8,000 mark since they began on Feb. 10.

“We’re really pleased with how it’s going,” Foley said. “Now we want to expand our base to ensure the support we have is as widespread as possible.”

According to TSN’s sources, the corporate sector, including Vegas casinos represent the next phase of the ticket drive and overall market study.

Dreger believes the announcement Foley is alluding to will be regarding the group’s season ticket drive.

If the NHL is as impressed by the ticket drive as Foley is, Dreger reports the NHL’s Board of Governors might invite an expansion application.

The Board is scheduled to meet in Las Vegas June 24th.

A 17,500-seat arena, which is currently under construction, is expected to be complete by April 2016.

Las Vegas Arena

Why We’re Rooting for the Return of the Arena Football League

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Could we be jaded and come up with endless reasons why the third time won’t be the charm for the AFL in Vegas? Of course we could. But where’s the fun in that? Instead, here are some reasons to be excited about a new chapter in the playbook …

Local flavor. Wide receiver Tysson Poots is a 2006 Coronado High School graduate who played for the AFL’s Arizona Rattlers and helped them win consecutive Arena Bowls in 2013-14. “[Las Vegas] is still considered home to me,” Poots says. “It feels good to be here, playing football professionally.” Joining Poots is B.J. Bell, a former defensive back for UNLV who played nose guard last season for the AFL’s L.A. KISS.

A head-banging good time. Yes, you guessed correctly: the L.A. KISS were conceived by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Which means we get the Crüe vs. KISS twice a year (April 11 in Anaheim; May 4 at the Mack). Further fueling the hairspray-induced flames between these rock vets: the Outlaws snagged former KISS quarterback Aaron Garcia as head coach.

Girls, girls, girls. Led by director and choreographer Allison Kyler, the Outlaws Posse cheerleaders are as homegrown as it gets. Several of the 10 women come straight from Strip shows, and all are local talents. “It’s a sporting event, but also an entertainment experience,” Kyler, a former dancer on Mötley Crüe’s tours, says of Outlaws home games. She plans to incorporate the thrill of a live show into Posse routines (of course that means pyrotechnics).

Camera time. CBS Sports Network and ESPN 2 will televise seven of the Outlaws’ 18 games this season (including three home contests). That means our team, representing our city, playing in our university’s arena will be exposed to a national audience. And lord knows this mundane city needs some exposure!

Rock ’n’ roll attitude. At the first practice with full pads and helmets March 12, the team was still 10 men over the 24-player roster maximum. Garcia had moved here just a week prior. And on March 21, a mere nine days before the first game, the Outlaws held open kicker tryouts, boasting: “No previous football experience needed. Just know how to kick it!” How will it all come together on game day? We can’t wait to watch.

– See more at: http://vegasseven.com/2015/03/25/rooting-return-arena-football-league/#sthash.waFW5ZEa.dpuf

Las Vegas Arena

Persistent Arena Football League becoming rock star of sports

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Scott Butera doesn’t want the Arena Football League to survive. It’s done that on its own since 1987.

The first-year commissioner’s mission is to make the AFL thrive. To do this, Butera left his CEO position at Foxwoods Resort Casino after watching his first Arena game a few years ago.

Why would Butera leave a game in which the house almost always wins to take on a revolving-door league that’s seen 34 franchises fold and canceled the 2009 season?

“I’ve always loved sports,” Butera told Sporting News. “I’ve been involved in Wall Street and gaming, but at the end of the day it’s all about entertainment. This is an entertaining product.”

Affordability has allowed the AFL to survive. Tickets for opening-week games max out at $25, and Butera sees the family-night-out philosophy as a building block for a league nearing its 30th anniversary.

“We’re in indoor venues that are clean, safe and fun,” Butera explained, calling his league “a getaway for a family at a reasonable price.”

But how does one crank up the AFL? Take the show to Vegas and bring Dr. Feelgood.

Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil is the new owner of the Las Vegas Outlaws, the newest franchise in the 12-team league. That’s only part of Butera’s plan, but it’s the one other professional leagues are watching closely.

“I live in Las Vegas,” Butera said. “You always hear about some new professional team trying to get here. It will be a test case to see how successful football can be here in Las Vegas. I think there’s a real need for it. Vegas has matured as a community, and I think there will be support for a quality team.”

Neil’s presence creates a natural rivalry with fellow rock star Gene Simmons, who owns the Los Angeles Kiss. But Butera is quick to point out the AFL isn’t just a “rock-and-roll football league.” Cleveland Cavaliers head Dan Gilbert (Cleveland) is also an AFL owner, as are former NFL stars Derrick Brooks (Tampa Bay) and Ron Jaworski (Philadelphia).

Jaworski helped organize the Boardwalk Bowl, a game between Las Vegas and Philadelphia set to be played May 30 in Atlantic City. And for those seeking a bandwagon, the Arizona Rattlers are going for a fourth consecutive Arena Bowl championship.

The 50-yard-football fix hasn’t survived this long by accident, and Butera even admits a lack of concerted effort for marketing and promotion. The AFL will never get better players than the NFL, but that’s not the goal.

Butera instead intends to compete with movies and concerts. With another rock star on board to bring increased entertainment value, it’s worth waiting for what happens next. The commissioner is on to something that he knows works in casinos.

“My hope is that someday, at the end of the game, a guy looks at the guy next to him and says, ‘Hey, who won the game? What was the score?'” Butera said. “We really do want to make an arena game the ultimate night out.”

Las Vegas Arena

MGM arena brings traffic concerns

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LAS VEGAS (KSNV My News 3) — If you drive down Interstate 15 at Tropicana Avenue, it’s hard not to notice the arena taking shape behind New York New York.The arena, once in operation, is expected to bring more traffic to an already congested area.We’re starting to get an idea just how big this thing is. The size of the crowds will depend on the event, but maximum capacity is about 20,000.How will people get in and out? Where will a new parking garage be built? It turns out . . . this area doesn’t need one. “It was actually master-planned for a couple of other key projects that never transpired,” says MGM Arena chief Mark Prows. A hotel and condominium tower were once proposed for the site.“Consequently, all the infrastructure on both the New York New York garage as well as the Aria garage were overbuilt at different times,” Prows says. “And parking won’t be limited to the immediate area.” He says trams and other transit both to the east and west sides of the Strip through the resort corridor is going to help move people through the area.

A traffic impacts analysis put together last year as a condition of approval also includes new ways to move vehicles. Starting with rue de Monte Carlo—now renamed Park Avenue — to be widened and realigned. Also planned is a new exit from the arena onto westbound Tropicana. “But the key arterial really is coming from southbound I-15,” Prows says. “It will take you around as you exit and come over that flyover. It will cut back around through Excalibur and connect to the Frank Sinatra Drive.”

The hope is to spread the traffic and parking around. “I think people find their own places and spaces that they like to eat and they like to go over through different places,” Prows says. “So I think they’ll find their own way.”

You’ll see work on that new loop ramp through the Excalibur parking lot start later this year. The Las Vegas Arena—to use the official name—is set to open in spring of 2016.

Las Vegas Arena

Taking a look at the playbook for arena designers Populous

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Rendering of the zoomy Las Vegas Arena, expected to be done next year.

If we want to understand the stakes for a new downtown arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, we only need to refer to the playbook of the massive international architecture firm recently hired to lead the design process.

“They can shape our towns and cities more than almost any other building type in history, and at the same time place a community on the map,” states the second chapter of “Stadia,” essentially a textbook for professionals about sports architecture from Populous.

These expensive, monumental and highly complex projects have changed a great deal in the last 20 years, and Populous is one of a handful of firms that have revolutionized and dominated the increasingly specialized field of sports architecture.

Brad Clark, the design principal with Populous on the Milwaukee project, wasn’t at liberty to offer specifics about the plans for the Milwaukee arena, including the site where it will be built, in an initial interview, though he did say those details would be revealed soon.

“It’s going to be sooner rather than later,” he said in a brief interview while he was vacationing in Mexico. “We are working through the ideas and representations of the building on the site.”

In the meantime, Clark was able to intimate some broad ideas for the project, including a general design approach and an ambition to be sustainable, technology infused and integrated into Milwaukee’s urban fabric.

Populous is an international firm based in Kansas City, a city Clark sees as having many similarities to our own. The firm has worked on more than 2,000 projects worth $30 billion, including 50 arenas.

It has designed 15 NBA or NHL arenas and is the only firm in the world to have designed three Olympic main stadiums, including London, Sochi and Sydney. It often refers to its arenas, stadiums and ballparks as “the new cathedrals” of our time, echoing the ambitions associated with the museum building boom of 15 or 20 years ago, language that stands in contrast to the more austere architectural trends of the moment.

Populous, which changed its name from HOK Sport in 2009, was the firm behind the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the arena the new project will effectively replace. The Bradley Center, completed in 1988 to replace the much maligned MECCA arena across the street, is one of the oldest functioning NBA arenas in the country.

“Our hope is that we are looking at a building that is extremely forward looking,” Clark said of the new arena, “that’s about the incredible future of what is a really vibrant Milwaukee today and really taps into that energy and that spirit but does respect what’s come in the past.”

Populous is capable of architecturally distinctive and telegenic projects, such as the undulating, glassy Aviva soccer stadium in Dublin, but it’s not a given.

Tom Dyckhoff, the architecture critic for the Times of London, for instance, called its Olympic Stadium for the 2012 Summer Games in London “tragically underwhelming,” echoing a common refrain. Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, wrote in 2011 that selecting Populous for a facility there showed “limited imagination.”

With such detractors, Populous, despite its size and dominance in the field, has much to prove, and that may be a good thing for Milwaukee. Might they be in a position to up their design game?

It does seem that the firm’s design ambitions are on the rise. On Tuesday, the firm was chosen as the architects for the high-profile Bristol Arena based on a dramatic design with an illuminated, adaptable, high-tech facade that promises to be the “most sustainable” arena in England.

Some more recent projects such as the Quebecor Arena in Quebec City, a swirling sculptural form inspired by snow drifts slated to be completed in fall of this year, and the zoomy Las Vegas Arena, expected to be done next year, appear to be decidedly more design minded. It is hard to tell at this stage whether these projects will live up to their promise.

Interpreting Bucks’ aspirations

The question then becomes: How might that square with the aspirations of the Bucks? In recent weeks, Peter Feigin, the Bucks’ new president, has said he’d like the multipurpose arena, expected to cost between $450 million and $500 million, to look like it “embraces Wisconsin” and be “ingrained” into existing architecture.

This had some wondering, myself included, if this might lead to banal historicism, a riffing on old forms.

Is it possible that Milwaukee’s more prominent architectural projects might also remain among the most conservative in terms of design, with the Milwaukee Art Museum serving as a lonely exception to the rule?

Asked whether Feigin’s comments might hint at some kind of nostalgic architecture or rather something more progressive, open and conceptual, Clark went firmly with the latter.

“It would be a more open and conceptual interpretation of (Feigin’s) comment,” Clark said. “It’s not specifically about brick details and arches and that kind of old-school detailing…. I don’t think it is a natural for knock-off historic detailing.”

So, that’s good to hear. We’re not likely to see another design misadventure such as Miller Park or the Wisconsin Center, projects with many fine qualities that fail architecturally because they are boilerplate homages to great architecture.

They lacked the courage to be of their time.

Still, one question that remains after talking with Clark and looking at images of the many projects that Populous has done in recent years around the world is whether the Milwaukee project will emphasize the sculptural form of the building, a structure that will be an ambassador for the city on TV screens around the world, or whether the Bucks might place greater emphasis on the arena’s interior, on the engagement of the fans and luxury spaces, for instance.

Both exterior and interior are important, of course, and one of the primary advances in arena design in recent years is simply the capacity to balance the extreme programmatic needs of the insides with the demand for exceptional design outside.

In truth, though, it is the building’s visual presence in the urban landscape that will have by far the greatest impact on the city and be experienced by more Milwaukeeans. This impact is especially outsized in a city of our modest size.

Comparing images of the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Populous’ hometown, to the Amway Center in Orlando, for instance, different values stand out.

In Kansas City, the elegant, curving curtain wall and its altering affects and reflections at various times of the day seem to be the show-stopping feature.

It’s a lantern-like jewel box at night.

In Orlando, the interior finishes and custom luxury spaces that allow for uniquely embedded sponsorship opportunities may be more headline worthy.

So, where will the Bucks invest? Where will the emphasis be here?

“Every client is different,” said Clark, who worked on both the Kansas City and Orlando projects, completed in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

Integrated technology

Clark did say the fan experience will be nothing like what Milwaukeeans are used to, however. One of the biggest differences will be an interactive, social and technology-fueled environment.

On the one hand, he said, Populous wants to design a space to feel intimate, connected to the action on the floor, to the squeak of the athletes’ shoes. On the other, it’s also about an immersive, connected digital experience.

One of the challenges is finding that “sweet spot,” Clark said.

He called the advances in integrated technology, including acoustics, scoreboard design and other features, “an arms race, literally.”

Clark also hopes the Milwaukee arena will achieve a high level of sustainability and was excited about some features that will be unique to the project. In addition to snagging the Bristol job, expected to be a showcase of environmentally conscious practices, the Amway Center was the first NBA facility given LEED Gold status.

“Honestly, we just believe that it’s good design and prudent design to get and achieve a Gold certification,” he said of the rating system from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Connecting arena to the city

That textbook mentioned at the top of this column also states that arenas are among “the most important buildings any city of the future can build, partly because of their power as an urban planning tool.”

When asked what kind of urban planning tool the Milwaukee arena might be, Clark stressed the importance of “stitching” the new arena to the existing urban fabric, to create “walkable and active” public spaces, a community “living room.”

He acknowledged the challenges of working in a part of the city with a crop of monolithic, block-sized buildings. It is a bleak zone that lacks socially, ethnically and architecturally diverse and dense areas that are conducive to development and people.

“Obviously, we are going to be very strategic about how we do that,” he said. “We love the idea of being able to stitch pedestrian and vehicular connections across the river and make it feel like it is tied more to the urban fabric you have now.

“I like the scale of your city and the vibrancy of what is happening on the east side of the river… that is the kind of energy that we believe we can make happen over on the other side, west of the river.”

What remains unclear is how the arena plan will sync up with the city’s existing urban design and revitalization priorities, particularly along the once thriving artery of Wisconsin Ave. and its flagging commercial district. This is where the partnership with local firm Eppstein Uhen Architects will be especially critical.

“Stadia: The Populous Design and Development Guide” (Routledge, 2013) goes on to suggest that sports structures can transform cities and “change people’s lives.”

That is spectacular ambition, goals worthy of a project of such rarity and significance. Let’s hold Populous to its words.

Mary Louise Schumacher is the Journal Sentinel’s art and architecture critic. Follow her coverage on Facebook (www.facebook.com/artcity) and Twitter (@artcity). Email her at mschumacher@journalsentinel.com.

About Mary Louise Schumacher

author thumbnailMary Louise Schumacher is the Journal Sentinel’s art and architecture critic. She writes about culture, design, the urban landscape and Milwaukee’s creative community. Art City is her award-winning cultural page and a community of more than 20 contributing writers and artists.

 

 

Las Vegas Arena

Sometimes sportsmen must speak up in political arena

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America’s sportsmen and women are an interesting breed. On one hand we relish the solitude and peace that can be found in the outdoors, but at the same time we generally enjoy sharing our outdoor experiences with others. Those two pursuits seem contradictory, but that is not entirely so.

My wife’s cousin and I backpacked into the Ruby Mountains for a muzzleloader deer hunt years ago. Our trail followed a canyon that was deep, long and eventually climbed toward the crest of the range. During the week Rick and I spent in that canyon, we each had the opportunity to harvest what anyone would call a dandy buck. But traditional muzzleloaders being what they are, we both came home empty-handed.

While my memories of that hunt include those of multiple hang fires that cost me the buck of a lifetime, I can’t forget the chance Rick and I had to experience what some might call a “National Geographic” moment.

Early one morning we were sitting on a ridge between two draws with our backs to a large boulder while glassing basins high on the hillside. Suddenly, deer began crossing the ridge in front of us and not 50 yards away. From the draw on our right to the one on our left they went, one after another. None seemed to even take notice we were there. Then suddenly a yearling doe bolted and started running for all she was worth, but we didn’t know why.

Then a large black shadow passed over us and we looked up to see a golden eagle that was in hot pursuit of that little doe. For several minutes we experienced what most people will only see on television or the Internet, a golden eagle on the hunt for venison. Watching that large bird weave through the trees was like watching a fighter pilot guide his jet. What an amazing thing to see. It was both a moment of natural solitude and a shared outdoor experience, if that makes sense.

Experiences like that have been an important component of the overall hunting, trapping or fishing experience since time began, and it is the shared experiences we remember most. Just listen to the stories that are most often repeated and you will see what I mean.

Each of us enjoys our choice of outdoor pursuits for different reasons. For some these activities are a family tradition that stretches back across the generations and is handed down with the care given grandma’s handmade china hutch while others are outdoor pioneers of sorts who are just now starting their own family tradition.

Though sportsmen tend to be tellers of tall tales, especially around the campfire, we would much rather pursue our hunting, trapping or fishing interests than talk about them in the political arena. But in today’s world it looks like that is no longer possible. Though small when compared to the number of sportsmen and women in the United States, the anti-hunting interests are well funded and tenacious. They also understand the concept of the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

Some folks in that camp suggest that anyone who does not actively hunt is against doing so, but that flies in the face of national research. Results of a 2011 study by Responsive Management show that 74 percent of Americans approve of legal hunting while 93 percent give the nod to recreational fishing.

In recent years, however, sportsmen across the country have begun to squeak a little bit themselves. As a result, “Eighteen states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with 17 of those approved via the voters,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “While Vermont’s language dates back to 1777, the rest of these constitutional provisions — in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming — have passed since 1996.”

Nevada’s sportsmen made a run at such an amendment to the state constitution during the 2013 legislative session, but it died in chamber. Now a second run is underway. Sponsored by state Sen. Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, Senate Joint Resolution 11 “proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to preserve the right to hunt, trap and fish in this State.” The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

Anyone wishing to comment on the bill can do so at the Legislature’s website (www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/78th2015/A/).

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com.

Las Vegas Arena

Will NHL hockey work in Las Vegas?

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AEG and MGM Resorts International released renderings of their $350 million arena off the Las Vegas Strip. The arena could host hockey games if Las Vegas lands an NHL team.

Want a local team?

Visit lasvegas-hockey.com to pledge support for a Las Vegas hockey team.

Billionaire Bill Foley is determined to do more than bring a National Hockey League team to Las Vegas. Within eight years of launching the franchise — possibly the first professional team to set up shop here after a decade of near-misses — he envisions hoisting the Stanley Cup.

“I don’t care what it takes,” Foley told ESPN.com.

That’s good, because making hockey work in the desert of Southern Nevada just might take 70-year-old Foley pouring his net worth into building the franchise. More times than not, franchises in nontraditional hockey markets fail to attract a significant fan base.

Take Atlanta, for example.

In 1980, the Atlanta Flames left for Calgary, Alberta, after averaging fewer than 10,000 fans per game in their final season. Nearly 20 years later, hockey returned to Atlanta with the expansion Thrashers, whose owners say they lost $130 million in the team’s last six years before it was sold to Winnipeg in 2011.

Foley, who owns a Florida insurance and mortgage company, believes Las Vegas could be different. And the NHL is listening.

He was given the green light two weeks ago by the league’s Board of Governors to conduct a season ticket drive in the valley in early 2015 to gauge locals’ interest in supporting a team. The Las Vegas franchise would play in the $375 million, 20,000-seat arena being built behind New York-New York by MGM Resorts International and AEG, scheduled to open in April 2016.

Foley would have to pay an estimated $450 million expansion fee, which is significant, even for someone of his resources.

The league gave Foley and his group the OK to investigate whether hockey would work in Las Vegas. No franchise has been approved.

The Maloof family of Las Vegas, former owners of the Sacramento Kings and the Palms, are Foley’s partners. They’ve reportedly been coordinating for more than a year. Foley also has hockey legend Wayne Gretzky as an adviser.

“Nevada and Las Vegas in particular are no longer what they were 50 years ago or 40 years ago: a gambling city, kind of a way station in the desert,” Foley told the Canadian Press. “A number of software companies, development companies have located in Las Vegas. … Those companies and those people who work for those companies, that’s our target. Those are the people that we want to have come to these games.”
Click to enlarge photo

Click to enlarge photo

Why Las Vegas is a good fit for the NHL

When a Floyd Mayweather Jr. prize fight or a UFC card fills the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the excitement on the Strip rivals that of other professional sports cities on game night.

Vendors sell shirts on bridges connecting casinos, bars and restaurants fill with patrons, and table game limits increase. Las Vegas buzzes for sports.

Imagine that happening multiple times a month during hockey season.

A consistent sports presence is the one entertainment option noticeably missing from the Strip. But the city has mastered hosting sporting events about once a quarter, giving it the experience to graduate to hosting 40-plus NHL games annually.

It may finally be Las Vegas’ time. Southern Nevada has a taxpayer-free venue in MGM/AEG’s new arena and a population of more than 2 million, which rivals other cities with professional sports franchises. And, of course, there’s the Strip. Residents and tourists both can fill the arena.

Local companies also can do their share, by comping tickets to high rollers and giving them away as corporate relations.

Once a home team starts winning, locals would do the rest. History shows Las Vegans love winning teams and would flock to see one in contention.

What about the Wranglers?

Las Vegas already has a professional hockey team — at least on paper.

The Wranglers voluntarily suspended operations in May after the team’s lease with the Orleans Arena expired, but officials are optimistic the team will return in a new venue next season.

“There are continuing discussions with someone,” Wranglers’ President Billy Johnson said. “We have to make sure whatever the deal, our tickets remain reasonable.”

The team was going to play this season in a makeshift rink at the Plaza downtown, but that deal fell through and put the franchise on life support. The ECHL gave the Wranglers one year to secure a new home. Johnson would not say whom he is in talks with. This season would have started in mid-October.

It’s easy to assume the Wranglers and an NHL team couldn’t co-exist. Why would a desert city, or any city, need two hockey teams?

Johnson disagrees.

First, NHL is a different brand of hockey with a different price point. Wranglers season tickets cost about $550 for 36 games; a single NHL game averages $70.

Plus, an NHL team would need developmental clubs. One up the road on Tropicana Avenue would be a perfect fit.

“McDonald’s doesn’t suffer because there is one on every corner,” Johnson said.

Johnson is rooting for a potential NHL team. He said he’d be among the first to buy season tickets.

“Everyone is asking hockey fans if it will work,” Johnson said. “That is like asking Springsteen fans if they liked his last album. My advice would be: Go to supermarkets, drug stores, and ask those people what they think.”
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Mayweather-Pacquiao set for May 2

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At long last, pound-for-pound greats Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will fight.

Yes, the bout that looms as one of the most anticipated in boxing history is finally on.

For more than five years sports fans have clamored for a summit meeting between the two best fighters in the world, and after various failed negotiations — and a protracted and difficult effort to make the fight in recent months — they will get it on May 2 to unify the fighters’ welterweight world titles at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The showdown is a lock to be the richest in boxing history and will, barring a draw, settle the issue that has been debated for years: Who is the No. 1 fighter in boxing and who is the king of this era?

[+] EnlargeFloyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao

Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty ImagesExcitement ratcheted up on Jan. 27 when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, both sitting courtside at a Miami Heat game, met briefly at halftime and after the game privately.

Mayweather made the announcement on Friday afternoon on a social media platform called Shots, of which he is an investor.

“I am glad my decision to meet with Manny and discuss making this fight happen helped get the deal done,” Mayweather said, referring to a chance Jan. 27 meeting with Pacquiao at a Miami Heat game followed by a private discussion after the game. “Giving the fans what they want to see is always my main focus. This will be the biggest event in the history of the sport.”

In addition to the future Hall of Famers finally hammering out a deal for their welterweight title unification bout — one that will see Mayweather receive the lion’s share of a 60-40 money split in a fight that could gross around $400 million — rival premium cable networks Showtime, which has Mayweather under contract, and HBO, which has a deal with Pacquiao, went through a brutal negotiation.

The networks resultingly will come together to produce and distribute a joint pay-per-view telecast, which is expected to cost a record-high $89.95 (and probably $10 more for high definition).

“I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years,” Pacquiao said. “They have waited long enough and they deserve it. It is an honor to be part of this historic event. I dedicate this fight to all the fans who willed this fight to happen and, as always, to bring glory to the Philippines and my fellow Filipinos around the world.”

Many involved expected the announcement to come on Thursday, but Mayweather was upset because Top Rank, Pacquiao’s promoter, was leaking word of the impending announcement and Mayweather wanted it to be a surprise.

“Boxing fans and sports fans around the world will witness greatness on May 2,” Mayweather said. “I am the best ever, TBE, and this fight will be another opportunity to showcase my skills and do what I do best, which is win. Manny is going to try to do what 47 before him failed to do, but he won’t be successful. He will be number 48.”

According those familiar with the agreement, the contract Mayweather signed for the fight gave him the right to be the one to announce the fight, even though he was obligated to notify Top Rank of when he would do it.

On Friday afternoon, Top Rank was notified and Mayweather made the announcement about an hour later, though the deal had been done for a couple of days with both sides having signed the paperwork. Contracts were also signed by broadcasters HBO and Showtime, who will team for a historic joint pay-per-view.

“It’s hasn’t been easy,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com. “But I think in some strange way the inability to get the fight done before now enhances its value and this is one event that the public all over the world has been talking about and discussing for years. The interest in the fight will be absolutely red-hot. I’ve been promoting boxing for nearly 50 years and there is nothing that has come close to this because there has been nothing that has been so difficult to come to fruition. As interest is concerned, this is akin to the first (Muhammad) Ali-(Joe) Frazier fight.

“You have to be grateful that this is finally happening. You can’t bemoan the false starts and the inability to do this before. It’s here now.”

The fight is expected to shatter every revenue record in boxing history, including the pay-per-view buy record of 2.4 million generated by Mayweather’s 2007 junior middleweight championship fight against Oscar De La Hoya; the all-time pay-per-view revenue record of $150 million generated by Mayweather’s 2013 junior middleweight championship fight against Canelo Alvarez; and the all-time gate record of $20,003,150.

“Everyone involved, including Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, knows this fight simply had to happen,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports. “All of us are thrilled to be able to deliver this event to boxing fans around the world.

“Now, for the second time under his current deal with Showtime Networks, Floyd Mayweather has agreed to fight an opponent that many people thought he’d never face. We set an all-time pay-per-view record with the first event back in September 2013 (with Alvarez) and we look forward to another record-breaking performance on May 2.”

Said HBO Sports president Ken Hershman: “Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have been the two most prominent fighters in the sport of boxing for the past decade, and fight fans around the world have been clamoring for them to face each other.

“And now, on May 2, in what everyone believes will be the biggest boxing event of all time, fight fans have been granted their wish. May 2 will be a signature moment for the sport of boxing and HBO Sports is thrilled to be a part of this spectacular event. I know the fighters and their teams will be primed to excel and we plan to work closely with everyone involved to deliver the same level of performance from a broadcast perspective.”

It is only the second time Showtime and HBO have made such a deal. The first time was for the highly anticipated 2002 fight between then-heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, who was with HBO, and former champion Mike Tyson, who was with Showtime.

For years, Mayweather and Pacquiao have been the two best fighters in the world, fighting in the same weight class but having not faced each other despite constant public demand.

Both have been considered the pound-for-pound king at various times, with Mayweather having held that mythical position for the past few years with Pacquiao right behind him for most of that period.

[+] EnlargeFloyd Mayweather jr.

Al Bello/Getty ImagesFloyd “Money” Mayweather, who turns 38 on Tuesday, has won world titles in five weight classes while becoming the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and living in Las Vegas, “Money” Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs), who turns 38 on Tuesday, has won world titles in five weight classes, mainly with his defensive brilliance and speed, while becoming the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), a 36-year-old southpaw known for his speed, power and aggressive style, became the only boxer in history to win world titles in eight weight divisions — flyweight, junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight — while also generating hundreds of millions of dollars and being elected to congress in his native Philippines, where he is a national icon.

“The reason I like my guy’s chances so much is because of his speed, the tremendous number of punches he throws, the quality of his punches and the fact that he is left-handed,” Arum said. “Top Rank promoted Floyd Mayweather for 10½ years and we recognized that he had difficulty handling a speedy, left-handed fighter and that he and his father (and trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr.) were insistent that we not match Floyd with a southpaw. I remember two fights he had with southpaws who didn’t have the ability Mann has but who gave him trouble — (DeMarcus) ‘Chop Chop’ Corley, who buzzed him and had him in real trouble and Zab Judah.”

Said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s Hall of Fame trainer: “Floyd should enjoy being the A-Side while he can because on May 2 Manny is going to put him on his backside.”

Since 2009, Mayweather-Pacquiao has loomed as boxing’s biggest fight, but it took all these years to make it a reality.

Mayweather, who turned pro in 1996 after receiving an Olympic bronze medal, ended a brief retirement in September 2009 by easily outpointing Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao’s biggest rival.

Two months later, Pacquiao, who turned pro in 1995, ruthlessly destroyed Miguel Cotto in a 12th-round knockout victory to claim a welterweight title.

It was at that point that Mayweather and Pacquiao clearly were the two best fighters in the world pound-for-pound, in whichever order one wanted to place them.

But a big knockout is unlikely. The last time Pacquiao stopped anyone via KO was Cotto in 2009, while Mayweather has only knocked out one fighter in the last eight years — Victor Ortiz in September 2011.

They were both with HBO when their representatives began to negotiate the fight intensely at the end of 2009 and into early 2010.

All of the deal points were agreed to for a March 13, 2010 fight — including a 50-50 financial split — except for one: the method of drug testing in the lead-up to the fight. Mayweather, ahead of his time, demanded random blood and urine testing and Pacquiao declined to accept the specific protocol Mayweather wanted.

The deal fell apart and both moved on to other opponents. Pacquiao also sued Mayweather for defamation for accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs; the case was eventually settled out of court, but the bad feelings remained on both sides.

[+] EnlargeManny Pacquiao

Chris Hyde/Getty ImagesManny Pacquiao, a 36-year-old southpaw, returned in late 2013 after taking off 11 months and has won three fights in a row.

While the world waited to see them fight each other, Mayweather and Pacquiao beat a who’s who of their era as they faced one common opponent after another, including De La Hoya, Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Marquez and Shane Mosley.

Since the initial negotiation broke down in early 2010 there were other attempts to make the fight, including in 2010 when then-HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg served as a go-between in the negotiations between Arum of Top Rank and Mayweather adviser Al Haymon.

Those negotiations also failed and Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, denied a negotiation had even taken place despite Greenburg and Arum saying they had.

In early 2012, another attempt was made to put the fight together when Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz, who was visiting Mayweather in Las Vegas, put him on the phone with Pacquiao. Mayweather offered Pacquiao a $40 million flat fee for the fight.

Pacquiao, seeking to share in the overall revenue, not surprisingly declined.

The fight looked dead in recent years. Pacquiao suffered back-to-back losses in 2012 — a massively controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley Jr. and a sixth-round knockout loss to rival Marquez in their fourth fight, and then took off 11 months.

While Pacquiao was out of action, Mayweather jumped from HBO to Showtime for a six-fight contract, seemingly making the prospect of a deal even more remote.

Pacquiao returned in late 2013 and has won three fights in a row, a near-shutout of Brandon Rios followed by his regaining his welterweight title by soundly outpointing Bradley in their rematch last April.

In November, Pacquiao authored a one-sided defense against Chris Algieri, whom he knocked down six times in a virtual shutout decision.

Mayweather, meanwhile, fought four of the fights of his Showtime deal, wins against Robert Guerrero, Alvarez and two against Marcos Maidana.

But other than Mayweather’s blockbuster pay-per-view against Alvarez, the numbers for Mayweather and Pacquiao began to decline significantly as the public grew tired of buying expensive pay-per-view to watch them fight anybody but each other.

But after Mayweather outpointed Maidana in their September rematch, he opened the door for the fight, saying at the postfight news conference, “If the Pacquiao fight presents itself, let’s make it happen.”

Two months later, Pacquiao, during the lead-up to the fight with Algieri, called out for a Mayweather fight and continued to do so after his dominant performance.

Pacquiao even filmed a television commercial for athletic apparel retailer Foot Locker in which he mocked the fact that Mayweather had yet to agree to fight him. In the spot, Pacquiao overheard two boxers in the gym working on the heavy bag while discussing their excitement about a Foot Locker promotion.

Pacquiao, working mitts in the ring, walked over to the ropes and shouted at the boxers: “Wait, wait! So the thing the people wanted is finally happening?” One boxers answers, “Yeah,” and shrugged.

Pacquiao broke out into an epic celebration in the ring, shouting, “Yes!!! He’s going to fight me!”

Meanwhile, Arum, who promoted Mayweather before an acrimonious split in 2006, was negotiating the fight with Leslie Moonves, the CEO of Showtime parent company CBS, who served as the go-between on behalf of Mayweather and adviser Al Haymon, Arum’s bitter enemy (although they did have at least two face-to-face meetings at Moonves’ Los Angeles home during the talks).

The networks also got serious about making a deal with high-ranking company executives — HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler and HBO Sports president Ken Hershman and Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Blank and Showtime Sports Executive Vice President and General Manager Stephen Espinoza — meeting face-to-face in New York in mid-January.

Excitement that the fight would be made ratcheted up on Jan. 27 when Mayweather and Pacquiao, coincidentally both sitting courtside in Miami for a Heat game against the Milwaukee Bucks, met face to face briefly at halftime, exchanged cell phone numbers and shared a brief embrace. After the game, Mayweather met with Pacquiao and Koncz in Pacquiao’s hotel suite for about an hour to discuss some of the issues he had with the deal being negotiated.

The talks dragged out for nearly another month until they reached an accord and signed the contracts this week.

Las Vegas Arena

Pac-12 tournament 2015: Full bracket & TV schedule

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Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (23) and the Wildcats are the favorites in Sin City.

The 2015 Pac-12 tournament will be held at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, the same facility that will host the monster boxing match between Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao on May 2.

UCLA is the defending champion — beating Arizona 75-71 in a close, hard-fought affair a year ago. Could the Bruins catch fire again? Will the Wildcats bring it home? Or will one of the other 10 teams get it done?

IF YOU’RE GOING: Tickets | Vegas visitors guide | How to watch online

Here’s a look at the full schedule and seedings for each team.

(All games on Pac-12 Networks unless noted; All times Eastern)

Wednesday, March 11
No. 8 California vs. No. 9 Washington State, 3:10 p.m.
No. 5 Arizona State vs. No. 12 USC, 5:40 p.m.
No. 7 Oregon State vs. No. 10 Colorado, 9:10 p.m.
No. 6 Stanford vs. No. 11 Washington, 11:40 p.m.

Thursday, March 12
No. 1 Arizona vs. No. (8) California/(9) Washington State winner, 3:10 p.m.
No. 4 UCLA vs. (5) Arizona State/(12) USC winner, 5:40 p.m.
No. 2 Oregon vs. (7) Oregon State/(10) Colorado winner, 9:10 p.m.
No. 3 Utah vs. No. (6) Stanford/(11) Washington winner, 11:40 p.m., ESPN

Friday, March 13
Semifinal 1: 9:10 p.m.
Semifinal 2: 11:45 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, March 14
Final: 11:05 p.m., ESPN

 

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Coronado High product Poots will be face of new Las Vegas arena football team

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Coronado High graduate Tysson Poots, center, signs a contract with the Las Vegas Outlaws of the Arena Football Leagues. Bob Hewko, one of the Outlaws’ owners, is left. Team official Sean Coen is pictured at right.

It’s Vince Neil’s L.V. Outlaws vs. KISS’ L.A. Kiss on April 11, May 4
Motley Crue frontman hoping to pack the arena again — for football
Coronado High graduate Tysson Poots looking for chance in the NFL
The Sun’s sports section

He left the best team in the Arena Football League for the opportunity to return to his hometown and play for a first-year franchise.

Tysson Poots, a Coronado High graduate, will be one of the faces of the Las Vegas Outlaws, the third arena franchise in Las Vegas history. The wide receiver Poots spent the past two seasons helping the Arizona Rattlers win the Arena Bowl.

Now, he’s eager to help build the Outlaws, who host San Jose March 30 at the Thomas & Mack Center for their inaugural game. Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe is one of the Outlaws’ owners.

“It was a big debate whether I should come home or stay in Arizona and compete for another championship,” Poots said. “It comes down to family, No. 1. Vegas deserves a professional team that can bring fans to the game.”

He would have preferred to play in Las Vegas much earlier in his career. Despite being an all-state selection and having more than 2,000 career receiving yards at Coronado, Poots wasn’t offered a scholarship by hometown UNLV. They said he could walk-on, but Poots passed and accepted a scholarship to lower-level Southern Utah.

He broke virtually every receiving record at Southern Utah, finishing with 282 receptions for 3,970 yards and 43 touchdowns. In his final three years, he had more than 80 receptions, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was Football Championship Subdivision leader in receptions.

“I still feel a little upset about that, not going to lie,” Poots said of the snub by UNLV. “If the new coach keeps Vegas (players) here they could be a top-25 team.”

The opportunity to play, and flourish, immediately at Southern Utah helped set the table for his professional career. He was in training camp and played in exhibition games in 2011 with the Dallas Cowboys, and has also had tryouts with a few other teams.

Being an NFL player, even if it was just in training camp, was an experience Poots still cherishes. The Cowboys had just opened their new stadium.

“Preseason with the Cowboys was pretty intense,” he said. “It felt like the stadium was sold out. It was mind-blowing being in the brand-new stadium. That was amazing.”

While he’s had a few tryouts with NFL teams the past few seasons and he isn’t giving up on his aspirations to play outdoor football, Poots has found his niche in the arena league. He’s played parts of four seasons, catching 239 passes for 2,744 yards and 74 touchdowns.

It’s the type of experience that will make Las Vegas immediately competitive. Teams regularly combine for more than 100 points in arena games, which is played with eight players and 20-man rosters, and on a 50-yard field.

“Arena football is a blast. It’s a lot of fun being a receiver in this league,” he said.

Poots said this season could be the start of something great. He’s been with Neil and likes his vision for the franchise. Plus, the last time he was counted out, Poots put up record-breaking numbers in college.

“It’s good to be the underdog again,” he said. “Let’s go out and play, and shock people. We have the potential to be great. I’m not saying we’re in the ranks of Arizona, but down the road it could be something good.”

Arena football is attempting to stick in Las Vegas for a third time. The Las Vegas Gladiators were here from 2003-07 and the Las Vegas Sting in 1994-95.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or ray.brewer@lasvegassun.com. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21
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New Convention Business Coming to Las Vegas This Year

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LAS VEGAS -The Las Vegas economy is expected to receive a multi-million dollar boost this year thanks to the addition of new convention business and the return of several rotating shows. A total of 12 new and rotating conventions and trade shows consisting of more than 10,000 delegates are scheduled in 2015. Combined, the shows will draw an estimated 242,000 attendees generating nearly $315 million in local non-gaming economic impact. Nine of these shows will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).

 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual conference (November 14-17) and Magic: The Gathering Tournament (May 28-31) are both scheduled to take place in Las Vegas for the very first time this year. These two new shows are expected to bring an estimated 35,000 attendees generating $46 million in local non-gaming economic impact.

 

“Whether this is a show’s first time here or it’s been a while, Las Vegas is always an excellent choice for group business,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA.) “Over the past few years, we’ve seen exciting developments in Las Vegas with new resorts, attractions and restaurants opening. Add in top-notch customer service and nearly 11 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space and it’s easy to see why Las Vegas continues to be a global leader for business travel.”

 

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) returns November 17-19 with an expected 25,000 attendees and a non-gaming economic impact of $33 million. NBAA is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their business more efficient, productive and successful.
Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) also rotates back to Las Vegas September 28-30 bringing an estimated 43,000 attendees and a non-gaming economic impact of $56.5 million dollars. NBAA and PMMI were both last in Las Vegas in 2013.
The other rotating shows include:
• Redken Laboratories: January 25-27, Mandalay Bay Convention Center
• Ace Hardware Corporation: March 18-20, LVCC
• American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: March 23-28, Venetian/Sands EXPO
• International Sign Association: April 8-11, Mandalay Bay Convention Center
• Waste Expo: June 2-4, LVCC
• Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers: July 22-25, LVCC
• International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA): October 21-23, LVCC
• Power-Gen International: December- 8-10, LVCC
With more than 22,000 meetings and conventions held annually in Las Vegas, the convention industry is crucial to Southern Nevada’s economy, supporting more than 61,000 jobs in the area and contributing more than $7.4 billion to the local economy. For a record 20 consecutive years, Trade Show News Network has named Las Vegas the No.1 trade show destination in North America, hosting 53 of the 250 largest trade shows in 2013. For a full list of meetings conventions and trade shows, visit www.VegasMeansBusiness.com.

Las Vegas Arena

4,000 attend Jerry Tarkanian tribute in Las Vegas arena

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, spared no effort to honor Jerry Tarkanian at a public tribute Sunday in the Las Vegas arena where he coached.

Tarkanian, who built UNLV into a basketball power and led the Runnin’ Rebels to the 1990 NCAA championship, died Feb. 11 at the age of 84.

The Las Vegas Sun reports (http://bit.ly/1N6S0pr ) UNLV brought out the Rebels national championship trophy, arranged for a Frank Sinatra impersonator to sing “My Way” and closed with a fireworks show.

Former players for Tarkanian at UNLV, Fresno State and Long Beach State joined a crowd of about 4,000 during the two-hour ceremony at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Kentucky coach John Calipari, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and ESPN personality Dick Vitale praised Tarkanian in recorded messages.

UNLV Athletics Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy called Tarkanian “the greatest Rebel of all time.”

Restaurant Openings 2105

Las Vegas Restaurant Openings of Spring 2015

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Julian Serrano, Alex Stratta, Bank Atcharawan, Rick Harrison and more open their restaurants this spring and into the summer. See what’s on the horizon for the Las Vegas dining scene this spring.

Welcome to spring in Las Vegas, when scores of restaurants open across the city. The cavalcade of big names includes Gordon RamsayJulian Serrano, Brian Malarkey, Tony Gemignani, Bank Atcharawan and Alex Stratta. Big projects such as the Grand Bazaar Shops and Downtown Summerlin have their own subset of restaurants and bars, and the Pawn StarsRick Harrison opens his Pawn Plaza. Here’s a look at what’s on the horizon for the most-anticipated restaurant openings this spring arranged by area of town, plus two bonus openings in July

THE STRIP

Brian Malarkey Searsucker

Location: Caesars Palace
The Players: Brian Malarkey and Hakkasan Group
The Situation: The former Top Chef contestant brings his fun and casual approach to dining to Caesars Palace in the former Munchbar space. On the menu, find a lot of items in quotes. Look for a 38-ounce bone-in ribeye “tomahawk,” eggs and bacon “pork belly” with a soft poached egg with brown butter Hollandaise, the beer-braised short rib and horseradish with fried onions, pan sauce and butter potatoes. Malarkey’s sides include jalepeño chorizo “corn off the cob” and fried Brussels sprouts with walnuts in an anchovy red wine jalapeño vinaigrette
Opening: March 27
All Coverage of Searsucker [ELV]

Lago rendering Lago

Location: Bellagio
The Players: Julian Serrano
The Situation: Julian Serrano takes inspiration from Milan for his new Italian restaurant going in front and center at Bellagio. A mosaic measuring 15 feet tall and spanning 100 feet made of colorful Italian glass portraying an aerial map of Milan promises to wow guests as they enter the bar area.
Opening: April
All Coverage of Lago [ELV]

Gordon Ramsay's Fish & Chips Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips

Location: The Linq
The Players: Gordon Ramsay
The Situation: Long rumored, Gordon Ramsay’s fourth restaurant in Las Vegas will take over a 740-square-foot space on the promenade of The Linq near the High Roller. Expect to find dishes such as bangers and mash, chicken planks, sausages and hearty seafood chowder on the menu as well as the namesake fish and chips, made with cod.
Opening: Spring?
All Coverage of Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips [ELV]

Skinny Fats

Location: Grand Bazaar Shops
The Players: Reed Allen Slobusky
The Situation: Local restauranteurs open this third version of SkinnyFats with its healthy and happy sides of the menu. The 5,000-square-foot restaurant marks the first on the Strip
Opening: Spring?
All Coverage of SkinnyFats [ELV]

Nacho Daddy

Location: Grand Bazaar Shops
The Situation: Las Vegas can’t seem to get enough of the Mexican restaurant that specializes in nachos. This marks the fifth location and first on the Strip. Yes, there will be scorpion shots.
Opening: Spring?
All Coverage of Nacho Daddy [ELV]

Katana-Ya, now dubbed Ramen-Ya

Location: Grand Bazaar Shops
The Situation: The Michelin-recommended noodle shop out of San Francisco expands to Vegas with its gyoza, tempura, sushi and ramen.
Opening: Spring?
All Coverage of Katana-Ya [ELV]

DOWNTOWN

Glutton

[Photo: Facebook]

Glutton

Location: 612 Carson St.
The Players: Bradley Manchester
The Situation: This neighborhood restaurant plans to feature whole roasted meats and fish from a wood-burning stove. Craft cocktails and beers will be served from the bar. Glutton plans to serve lunch and dinner, with room for 70 inside and 30 outside.
Opening: April?
All Coverage of Glutton [ELV]

Itsy Bitsy Ramen & Whisky

Location: The Ogden, 150 Las Vegas Blvd. N.
The Players: Corner Bar Management, Martin Koleff, DJ Five and Downtown Project
The Situation: Japanese sake and Japanese whiskies are the centerpieces behind the bar.
Opening: Late April
All Coverage of Itsy Bitsy Ramen & Whisky [ELV]

Pawn Plaza

Location: 725 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
The Players: Rick Harrison of Gold & Silver Pawn Shop
The Situation: Harrison of Pawn Stars fame teams up with Rollin Smoke Barbeque for an Arkansas-style barbecue joint with a tavern on top and a balcony overlooking Las Vegas Boulevard dubbed Rick’s Rollin Smoke Barbeque. Smoke’s Poutinery and Rita’s Italian Ice are also on the docket at this container park shopping plaza made from 72 multi-colored cubes.
Opening: July
All Coverage of Pawn Plaza [ELV]

Vegenation

Location: 612 Carson St.
The Players: Donald Lemperle
The Situation: Next door to Glutton, a 100 percent vegan restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner spot.
Opening: April?
All Coverage of Vegenation [ELV]

Zydeco Po-Boys

Location: 612 Carson St.
The Players: Brandon Trahan
The Situation: “Cajun style cuisine” will be served at a walk-up counter for diners to enjoy at their small interior dining space or take to go. The kitchen will create in-house specialties including sausages and gumbo. The design will feature an urban, rustic approach with “exposed concrete floors, reclaimed wood accent walls, brick veneering accent walls, and exposed ceilings.”
Opening: April?
All Coverage of Zydeco Po-Boys [ELV]

The Venue of Las Vegas

Location: 700 Fremont St.
The Situation: The 36,000-square-foot event space is designed to host parties, meeting events, mitzvahs and weddings with room for up to 2,000 guests spread over three floors. Individual areas are available to rent with built-in audio and visual support.
Opening: May
All Coverage of The Venue of Las Vegas [ELV]

Westside

Tapas by Alex Stratta

Tapas by Alex Stratta

Location: Tivoli Village
The Players: Alex Stratta
The Situation: Originally slated to open in December, Alex Stratta’s return to Las Vegas was delayed. Expect a menu of small plates including 50 tapas and paella and maybe even one night a week featuring his stellar creations from his days at the Michelin-starred Alex at Wynn Las Vegas.
Opening: April 8
All Coverage of Tapas by Alex Stratta [ELV]

Social Bistro & Wine Bar

Social Bistro & Wine Bar

Location: Tivoli Village
The Situation: Expect California-inspired dishes, a wine and beer list and a patio.
Opening: Spring
All Coverage of Social Bistro & Wine Barr [ELV]

Henderson

Little Tony’s

Location: Palace Station
The Players: Tony Gemignani
The Situation: Little Tony’s from Gemignani will feature classic Italian, classic American, Sicilian, New York, traditional Chicago cracker thin with a cornmeal crust and gluten-free options. For those with a scorecard, this would be his fourth restaurant in the Vegas area with Pizza Rock at the Downtown Grand, another coming to Green Valley Ranch and his new Slice House also going in the Henderson resort.
Opening: April
All Coverage of Little Tony’s [ELV]

Chinatown

Chada Street

Location: 3839 Spring Mountain Road
The Players:
Bank Atcharawan
The Situation:
The 3,200-square-foot restaurant inspired by Thai street food plans to open in Chinatown. Expect an affordable wine list to pair with those dishes. Aime Wanmaneesiri, formerly chef at Chada Thai & Wine, heads up the kitchen while Atcharawan leads the wine program. The restaurant with 80 seats in the dining room will have room for 15 in a private dining room, 15 seats at the bar and 25 on sofas.
Opening: July
All Coverage of Chada Street [ELV]

Henderson

Pizza Forte

Location: Sunset Station
The Players: The Ferraro family from Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant
The Situation: Pizza Forte will offer New York-style pizza and square, Roman-style pan pizza by the slice with toppings, desserts including cannolis and tiramisu. Pizza Forte will also offer house made meatball sandwiches and they will be the only Las Vegas dining venue to offer three varieties of Hofmann hot dogs.
Opening: April 1
All Coverage of Pizza Forte [ELV]

DOWNTOWN SUMMERLIN

Lazy Dog

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

Location: Downtown Summerlin
The Situation: Lunch and dinner daily along with brunch on Saturday and Sunday, this restaurant with 15 locations plans to have a dog-friendly patio. The craft brew list is highlighted by Lazy Dog’s own brand created in collaboration with Golden Road Brewing.
Opening: Early April
All Coverage of Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar [ELV]

Public School 702

Public School 702

Location: Downtown Summerlin
The Situation: This restaurant out of California uses the tagline, “An Education in the Art of Food and Beer.” The fare here includes a bacon cheddar tots served with Sriracha ketchup, a Colorado lamb burger with tomato cranberry jam, and shrimp and Grafton cheddar grits. New for Vegas only, a late-night menu. On tap, 24 craft beers and more than half of them rotating to feature seasonal and regional brews.
Opening: Spring
All Coverage of Public School 702 [ELV]

Las Vegas Arena

Las Vegas’ case for hockey: Desert aside, we could have a leg up on other cities

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Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League, and Bill Foley, chairman of Fidelity National Financial, share a private moment after the “Let’s Bring Hockey to Las Vegas!” press conference at the MGM Grand Ballroom on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015.

2015021_Sun_NHL_Hockey_LE7_t653

With an arena under construction and an ownership group in place, Las Vegas appears to be ahead of the competition if the National Hockey League decides to add one or more teams in the coming years.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman emphasized the league hasn’t decided whether to expand, but it spoke volumes that he appeared Feb. 10 at the MGM Grand as an ownership group launched a drive to collect 10,000 season-ticket deposits. If multimillionaire Bill Foley and the Maloof family reach their goal — and they were halfway there after a day and a half — the league will have to seriously consider Las Vegas as a hockey town.

Other potential expansion cities have issues the valley doesn’t. Seattle has possible owners but an imperfect arena. Kansas City, Mo., and Portland, Ore., have NHL-ready arenas but no clear ownership groups. Quebec City already has lost an NHL team and faces cultural hurdles as a francophone city. Houston has ownership limitations because of its arena deal.

Las Vegas isn’t a perfect candidate. It would be the fourth-smallest NHL market in the country, ahead of Columbus, Ohio; Nashville, Tenn.; and Buffalo, N.Y.

But market size doesn’t guarantee success, as Houston, the nation’s fifth-largest metropolitan area, has never had an NHL team, and two NHL teams have moved away from Atlanta.

Although adding teams could dilute talent across the league, it would make financial sense. Foley’s group would have to pay an expansion fee estimated to be about $450 million.

A closer look at Las Vegas and some of the other possible expansion cities:

TORONTO
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the first period of an NHL hockey game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.

Frank Gunn / AP

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the first period of an NHL hockey game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.

Arena: The Maple Leafs play in Air Canada Centre, but a second Toronto team could share the venue, the same way the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers share Staples Center in Los Angeles. New arenas also have been proposed in Toronto and the suburbs Vaughan and Markham.

Metro area population: About 5.6 million.

Ownership: It’s unclear who potential owners would be.

Hockey history: The Leafs are one of the NHL’s Original Six teams and have won 13 championships. The city, which also has had minor-league and junior teams, has been home to the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1958.

Potential obstacles: The market appears to be large enough to support two teams, but the ownership and arena issues are significant.

LAS VEGAS
Construction continues on The MGM Arena behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo on January 12, 2015.

Mikayla Whitmore

Construction continues on The MGM Arena behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo on January 12, 2015.

Arena: MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group are building a 17,500-seat, $375 million arena on the Strip behind New York-New York, scheduled to be completed by April 2016.

Metro area population: About 2 million.

Ownership: Bill Foley heads Hockey Vision Las Vegas, a partnership with the Maloof family. Foley is CEO of insurance and mortgage company Fidelity National Financial. The Maloofs have a minority stake in the Palms and used to own the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Hockey history: Las Vegas was home to the minor-league Thunder from 1993 to 1999 and Wranglers from 2003 to 2014. Both teams folded because of arena problems.

Potential obstacles: Las Vegas is a nontraditional hockey market where many people work irregular hours, which could make it difficult to build a stable fan base. Nevada residents’ economic health ranks among the nation’s worst, so many people can’t afford season tickets.

QUEBEC CITY
Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers goes airborne in front of Quebec Nordiques goalie Ron Hextall as he gets tripped by Quebec defenseman Kerry Huffman at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Oct. 30, 1992. Nordiques players Mike Hough, Curtis Leschyshyn and Claude Lapointe and Rangers forward Mike Gartner watch the play.

Ron Frehm / AP

Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers goes airborne in front of Quebec Nordiques goalie Ron Hextall as he gets tripped by Quebec defenseman Kerry Huffman at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Oct. 30, 1992. Nordiques players Mike Hough, Curtis Leschyshyn and Claude Lapointe and Rangers forward Mike Gartner watch the play.

Arena: New Quebec City Amphitheatre, a $400 million venue funded by the city and province of Quebec, is scheduled to open in September. It will seat 18,482 for hockey.

Metro area population: About 765,000.

Ownership: Since the Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver in 1995 to become the Colorado Avalanche, many potential ownership groups have pursued a team.

Hockey history: The city has been home to two top-level teams: the Bulldogs from 1878 to 1920 and the Nordiques, who played in the World Hockey Association from 1972 to 1979 before joining the NHL.

Potential obstacles: The market would be one of the smallest in major North American sports. Also, Quebec City is almost entirely a francophone city with little English-language media. That could make it difficult for a Quebec City team to attract players who don’t speak French.

SEATTLE
KeyArena in Seattle is shown Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.

Ted S. Warren / AP

KeyArena in Seattle is shown Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.

Arena: KeyArena, which opened in 1962 and was renovated in the mid-1990s, seats 15,177 for hockey.

Metro area population: About 3.6 million.

Ownership: Minnesota Wild Vice Chairman Jac Sperling and New York investment banker Ray Bartoszek could lead the push to bring a team to the Seattle area.

Hockey history: The Seattle Metropolitans were the first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup but folded in 1924. The area has two Western Hockey League major-junior teams: the Seattle Thunderbirds, who moved out of KeyArena in 2009, and the Everett Silvertips. The Thunderbirds now play in Kent.

Potential obstacles: KeyArena’s renovation made the venue less than ideal for hockey capacity and sightlines. An arena has been proposed for the city’s SoDo district but has hit snags. Suburban cities such as Tukwila and Bellevue are possible sites for a new arena.

HOUSTON
Work continues on Toyota Center, the home of the Houston Rockets, on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2003, less than 24 hours before the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Houston.

Pat Sullivan

Work continues on Toyota Center, the home of the Houston Rockets, on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2003, less than 24 hours before the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Houston.

Arena: Toyota Center, which opened in 2003, seats 17,800 for hockey.

Metro area population: About 6.3 million.

Ownership: As part of the lease agreement between the arena and the NBA’s Houston Rockets, only an NHL team owned by Rockets owner Les Alexander is allowed to play at the Toyota Center.

Hockey history: The Aeros played in the World Hockey Association from 1972 to 1978 but folded when the league merged with the NHL. A top-level minor-league team, also called the Aeros, played from 1994 to 2013.

Potential obstacles: Ownership questions and a lack of hockey culture could make Houston a challenging proposition.

PORTLAND, ORE.
The Moda Center in Portland, Ore., home to the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team, is shown Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.

Don Ryan / AP

The Moda Center in Portland, Ore., home to the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team, is shown Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.

Arena: Moda Center, which opened in 1995, seats 18,280 for hockey.

Metro area population: About 2.3 million.

Ownership: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen owns the arena and its primary tenant, the NBA’s Trail Blazers. He came close to acquiring the Pittsburgh Penguins in the late 1990s.

Hockey history: The city has been home to the Western Hockey League’s Winterhawks, regularly one the league’s leaders in attendance, since 1976.

Potential obstacles: Who besides Allen could afford a team? Although the MLS’ Timbers have been a hit in Portland, doubts remain about the city’s ability to fill an arena for professional hockey.

HAMILTON, ONTARIO
Jim Balsillie, right, chairman and co-CEO of Research in Motion, shows the Pittsburgh Penguins logo on his BlackBerry with Penguins Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux behind him Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006, in Pittsburgh. Lemieux’s ownership group agreed to sell the franchise to Balsillie, but the deal fell through when the NHL wouldn’t let Balsillie move the team to Hamilton, Ontario.

AP

Jim Balsillie, right, chairman and co-CEO of Research in Motion, shows the Pittsburgh Penguins logo on his BlackBerry with Penguins Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux behind him Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006, in Pittsburgh. Lemieux’s ownership group agreed to sell the franchise to Balsillie, but the deal fell through when the NHL wouldn’t let Balsillie move the team to Hamilton, Ontario.

Arena: FirstOntario Centre, which opened in 1985, seats 17,383 for hockey.

Metro area population: About 720,000.

Ownership: BlackBerry founder Jim Balsillie has made three attempts to purchase a team and relocate it to Hamilton. Instead, he could pursue an expansion team.

Hockey history: Hamilton had an NHL team in the early 1920s, but the team folded in 1925. The minor-league Bulldogs have been in Hamilton since 1996.

Potential obstacles: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, both within 50 miles of FirstOntario Centre, oppose a team in Hamilton. A team could have trouble drawing fans from established fan bases nearby.

KANSAS CITY, MO.
This Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, photograph shows the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Orlin Wagner / AP

This Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, photograph shows the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Arena: The Sprint Center, which opened in 2007, seats 17,544 for hockey.

Metro area population: About 2 million.

Ownership: Although the city has an NHL-ready arena, it’s not clear who potential team owners are.

Hockey history: The NHL’s Kansas City Scouts struggled with low attendance from 1974 to 1976 before the team moved to Denver. Minor-league teams in the area have included the Blades, who played in the International Hockey League from 1990 to 2001.

Potential obstacles: The lack of an ownership group, a poor history with the NHL and a small market combine to make Kansas City look like a long shot.

TORONTO
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the first period of an NHL hockey game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.

Frank Gunn / AP

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the first period of an NHL hockey game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.

Arena: The Maple Leafs play in Air Canada Centre, but a second Toronto team could share the venue, the same way the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers share Staples Center in Los Angeles. New arenas also have been proposed in Toronto and the suburbs Vaughan and Markham.

Metro area population: About 5.6 million.

Ownership: It’s unclear who potential owners would be.

Hockey history: The Leafs are one of the NHL’s Original Six teams and have won 13 championships. The city, which also has had minor-league and junior teams, has been home to the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1958.

Potential obstacles: The market appears to be large enough to support two teams, but the ownership and arena issues are significant.

LAS VEGAS
Construction continues on The MGM Arena behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo on January 12, 2015.

Mikayla Whitmore

Construction continues on The MGM Arena behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo on January 12, 2015.

Arena: MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group are building a 17,500-seat, $375 million arena on the Strip behind New York-New York, scheduled to be completed by April 2016.

Metro area population: About 2 million.

Ownership: Bill Foley heads Hockey Vision Las Vegas, a partnership with the Maloof family. Foley is CEO of insurance and mortgage company Fidelity National Financial. The Maloofs have a minority stake in the Palms and used to own the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Hockey history: Las Vegas was home to the minor-league Thunder from 1993 to 1999 and Wranglers from 2003 to 2014. Both teams folded because of arena problems.

Potential obstacles: Las Vegas is a nontraditional hockey market where many people work irregular hours, which could make it difficult to build a stable fan base. Nevada residents’ economic health ranks among the nation’s worst, so many people can’t afford season tickets.

Brian Deka can be reached at 702-259-4073 or brian.deka@lasvegassun.com. Follow Brian on Twitter at twitter.com/briandeka.
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Las Vegas Arena

Locals pushing for NHL team in Las Vegas

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Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) — Future hockey players are hoping to one day soon to watch their hockey idols play at home at a new arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

“It moves at a rate that you have to be there live to appreciate it and understand it and when they do understand, they get hooked,” said Las Vegas Storm GM Gabe Gauthier.

However, before a new team even makes it to the ice, the NHL wants to make sure enough fans will be watching.

If you want to stake your claim on some season tickets, go to vegaswantshockey.com to put down a deposit on Tuesday.

Seats run as low as $20 per game, and up to $220 per seat at all 42 home games.

Gauthier hopes the public will put their money down and send a message to the NHL that Las Vegas wants hockey.

“They want to reach that goal of 10,000 and after that they can do other stuff like ticket packages and choosing your seat but they need that magic number of 10,000 tickets and if it exceeds that then all the best.”

Las Vegas Arena

New All Net Resort and Arena in Las Vegas Reveals Design Plans

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By Newswire | October 29, 2014
The new All Net Resort and Arena, slated to open on the Las Vegas Strip in early 2017, has released details for what travelers can expect from its design.

all net resort and arena las vegas

The new All Net Resort and Arena, slated to open on the Las Vegas Strip in early 2017, has released details for what travelers can expect from its design. The $1.4 billion development broke ground October 29.

Its three main components include: an approximately 860,000-square-foot, multi-purpose arena with unique retractable roof; Victory Plaza, a 300,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza; and a 44-story, boutique, five-star spa hotel with 500 specialty suites. Each of the three components offer attributes that are distinct to Las Vegas and significantly advance the art of entertainment design.

All Net Arena

The All Net Arena will have a sleek, spherical exterior inspired in part by the barrel cactus of nearby Red Rock Canyon. A matrix of LED screens will be programmed for dramatic visual experiences.

Supporting the glass walls of the structure is a network of spines, again suggesting a cactus shell. Overall, the design aims for s sense of permeability and transparency, which is reflected in its indoor/outdoor orientation.

The arena’s retractable roof and exterior curtain walls may be opened in good weather, allowing visibility and engagement from the street. Other indoor / outdoor experiences will include decks and terraces, and the arena’s concourses will be “outward focused,” with transparent walls and views of the surrounding streets ad adjacent Victory Plaza.

The Arena is designed to the specifications of National Basketball Association Professional Teams and Events.

Victory Plaza

The 300,000-square-foot retail and restaurant streetscape will be designed for pedestrians. Like the arena, Victory Plaza will be animated with interactive lights and signage.

The pedestrian streetscape includes landscaping, shade structures, food and retail establishments with outdoor seating, staging and water features. Its circulation plan weaves people through the property from Las Vegas Boulevard (The Strip) to Paradise Road, connecting to the resort hotel and linking with Las Vegas’ monorail station. Entrances are available from both The Strip and Paradise Road.

The All Net Resort Hotel

The All Net Resort Hotel will have 500 specialty suites, each containing a private spa area for in-room spa and salon services. Above the 44th and highest floor is a rooftop pool and lounge with a view of Victory Plaza and Las Vegas Boulevard. Several specialty suites will have an outdoor private pool terrace with dramatic views of Las Vegas. The Hotel will also contain a restaurant with a private lounge, a wedding chapel and reception area, a specialty clothing and jewelry boutique and a full-service spa.

A 16-screen cineplex with luxury movie theater is also included in the project.

The All Net Resort Hotel is a non-gaming resort.

Las Vegas Arena

Ground breaking near for $1.4 billion Strip arena complex

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A white Chevrolet Suburban pulled into the vacant 27-acre site off Paradise Road between the SLS Las Vegas and Turnberry Towers, and a 6-foot, 6-inch man dressed in a gray pinstripe suit, white shirt and pink tie eased out of the long SUV and strolled along the gray pavement.

Jackie Robinson, the former UNLV and NBA player and a cousin of the man who integrated Major League Baseball, surveyed the sprawling site that extended from Paradise to the Strip.

It’s a blank asphalt slate now — but not for long.

Robinson plans a groundbreaking Wednesday to mark the construction start of a $1.4 billion arena, hotel and shopping project that has quietly moved ahead as a soccer stadium debate rages in Las Vegas, UNLV delayed its campus football stadium by two years and MGM Resorts International builds its $375 million, 20,000-seat arena behind New York-New York on the Strip.

Robinson’s privately funded arena will cost $690 million, and he has lined up an arena management heavyweight — Philadelphia-based Comcast-Spectacor — to schedule programming and manage the 22,000-seat retractable-roof arena.

Robinson, 59, and a Los Angeles native, said construction crews will begin ripping up the pavement in December and the arena is projected to open in early 2017. The 500-room hotel will be nongaming, with retail outlets, a grocery store, movie theater, offices, underground parking and a plaza as parts of the project.

The site is owned by Paul Lowden’s Archon Corp. Robinson said he has an option to buy and noted that Lowden might be included in some facet of the project.

MGM and its 50/50 arena partner, Anschutz Entertainment Group of Los Angeles, held its groundbreaking May 1, nearly six months ago. Robinson’s arena will have a groundbreaking that will attract his former basketball teammates Reggie Theus and Alejandra Castillo, national director of the Minority Business Development Agency.

Robinson is using his NBA contacts to stir interest in drawing an NBA team to the facility, he said. Las Vegas is on the NBA radar for a team because of the success of the NBA Summer League, he added.

His funding sources include the Carlton Group and foreign investors in the federal “EB-5 visa” program, which allows investors to receive visas if they invest $500,000 in projects, he said.

Robinson is confident the project will work financially with enough revenue because he said the arena is being augmented by other revenue-makers such as the hotel and retail space.

He said that because his hotel will not have gambling, it will attract religious groups such as Mormons and even the Saudis. He also expects companies to hold corporate events at his project.

Robinson noted his arena — like the MGM-AEG venue that is scheduled to open in spring 2016 — will make a run at luring the National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack Center, where Robinson starred as a basketball player from 1973-78. He played for the NBA Seattle Supersonics, Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls from 1978-82.

Robinson said his former UNLV coach, Jerry Tarkanian, will attend the groundbreaking if his health allows it.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Find him on Twitter: @BicycleManSnel

Las Vegas Arena

Las Vegas Major League Gamble

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Will Las Vegas big bet on professional sports pay off?

In this July 28, 2005 file photo shows an electric company worker changing ballasts and lamps on the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas," sign in Las Vegas, Nev.

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A new team coming to town?

Well it looks like Las Vegas is finally going to get that are an it deserves! This has been in the makings for sometime now an it looks like 2016 will be the year! With the city pushing to get a major sports team under its belt, I guess it only makes sense to have a place for the team to play at before the team arrives right? With the city’s strong push for the symphony park soccer stadium looks like one way or another Las Vegas will succeed again on something that will be an awesome venture for the city of Las Vegas! With EDC growing every year a large stadium will surly be the ticket for events like that. Las Vegas is forever changing and is always setting the standards for bigger and better things and this is no exception to the rule! Yes there has been some very rough times for Vegas but they always seem to stay afloat and are always finding new ways to push the envelope! With a new arena and/or stadium in its near future, I’m sure it will only bring even more excitement to the place that everyone can’t seem to get enough of. Las Vegas is bouncing back in a big way and all I can say is to buckle your seat belts because the next few years is going to be something very special when it comes to the city of entertainment! Stay tuned to this website because it is here to keep you updated on all the progress and events surrounding the new arena as well as the new stadium!

LAS VEGAS – Games are everywhere here. Just step off a plane at McCarran International Airport and you’re immediately hit with the bright lights of slot machines and electronic card dealers. On Vegas’ famed Strip, you can find everything from good old poker and blackjack to casino war, craps and roulette.

But there’s recently been a push to bring a new kind of game to town: major league professional sports.

Both the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer have taken a keen interest in placing franchises in Sin City, which is one of the last significant American cities without any major pro sports teams. The Las Vegas city council voted recently to spend nearly $60 million (or more, depending on how and what you count) on a stadium to house a future MLS franchise and private developers are building a separate arena with an eye toward luring a pro hockey team.

However, many question whether Las Vegas is fertile ground for major professional sports and what role major league squads can play in a city that has already dubbed itself the Entertainment Capital of the World. Would pro sports actually be a safe gamble for Vegas, especially with public money on the line? The data and the history point to “no.” This is one instance where the house is unlikely to win.

[SEE: Political Cartoons on the Economy]

AEG & MGM Resorts break ground on Las Vegas Arena, opening spring 2016.

Breaking ground on Las Vegas Arena.

‘Nobody skates there!’ Tucked behind the New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos, the structure that will one day be Las Vegas Arena rises into the sky, the skeletal outline of an arena-shaped space apparent amid the dust and din of ongoing construction. The $350 million arena, slated to open next year, is being built by AEG and MGM Resorts International, giving a future sports team an obvious home right on the Strip (where it would technically be in Paradise, Nevada, not the actual city of Las Vegas).

The arena’s owners have already welcomed the idea of an NHL team hitting their ice, while the league has given the go-ahead for a would-be NHL franchise owner, William Foley, to start a ticket drive to gauge interest in a possible Vegas team. “Las Vegas is a hockey city, and we believe THE TIME IS NOW to make it happen!” Foley wrote in an email, caps included, attempting to drum up support for the drive. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, meanwhile, said last month of Vegas, “I think in a whole host of ways, some of them very good and extraordinary, it’s a unique market.”

Is Vegas actually a hockey city, though? Skepticism is certainly warranted – even looking beyond the city’s obvious desert qualities – as the NHL’s record in traditionally non-hockey environs has been underwhelming. In the 1990s, the league shifted away from its traditional base in Canada and the American Northeast toward the U.S. South and West in an attempt to widen the game’s appeal and fan base. The league has mostly crapped out in the warmer climes.

The franchises in Dallas and Nashville consistently rank in the bottom third of the league’s attendance figures – and they’re the closest things to success stories. The Arizona Coyotes have been a basketcase of a franchise, falling into bankruptcy and eventually needing to be taken over by the league itself; the city of Glendale, Arizona, threw millions of dollars at the Coyotes and their home, now called Gila River Arena, with little hope of ever seeing a return. The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, meanwhile, are two of the NHL’s least valuable franchises.

Construction of the Las Vegas Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Construction of the Las Vegas Arena.

But the Atlanta Thrashers are the league’s worst example. After just a decade of low attendance, financial trouble and poor results, the team decamped for Winnipeg, Manitoba (the city from which the franchise currently in Arizona originated), where it now plays as the Jets.

“[The NHL has] had this Sun Belt sort of plan for development, and it hasn’t really done very well if you look at attendance,” says Dennis Coates, an economics professor at the University of Maryland–Baltimore County who studies sports and stadiums. And the prospect of Vegas bucking the trend isn’t good, he adds, saying that the league may “never build a fan base in Las Vegas for the same reason they couldn’t in Atlanta. Nobody skates there! They don’t play hockey. And so the natural followers of the sport just don’t exist there.”

In fact, according to an analysis by the website FiveThirtyEight, “there are only 91,000 hockey fans in the Vegas media market, which is nearly 40 percent fewer than even Nashville, Tennessee, the least-avid current NHL city, has.” The analysis, based on Internet search traffic, led FiveThirtyEight to the following conclusion: If Las Vegas “follows the league’s heretofore-established relationship between fan base size and financial success, it might be all but impossible for its new team to turn a long-term profit without a change to the underlying economics of the NHL as a whole.”

[SEE: 2014: The Year in Cartoons]

Adding to the trouble is that Las Vegas has a large Hispanic population, which has not traditionally been inclined to tune in to ice hockey. Vegas is also just the 41st largest television market in the U.S.; the only smaller market that currently has an NHL team is Buffalo, New York.

That said, the Business Journals estimated that, by available personal income, Vegas is actually one of the most attractive potential locales for an NHL team. The league has also successfully hosted NHL preseason games in the city for the last few years. And either way, the Las Vegas Arena is being built thanks to private funds, with or without a major sports tenant, its owners banking on a stream of other events – concerts, boxing matches and the like – to fill seats and pay the bills. The same can’t be said for a potential MLS stadium.

Construction of the Las Vegas Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Construction of the Las Vegas Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.

‘Penn and Teller live here.’ “This has been the most one-sided feedback from constituents ever, saying ‘don’t do it,’” says Las Vegas Councilman Bob Beers, who has been one of the leading opponents of using public money to finance a soccer stadium in the city. “This is not the first suggestion of professional sports here. They have all either not gotten off the ground or if they have gotten off the ground, have pretty much folded.” Indeed, the city has played host to a series of ill-fated franchises in various less-than-major leagues, sporting names such as the Rattlers (semi-pro basketball), the Silver Bandits (from the long-forgotten International Basketball League) and the Sting (the Arena Football League). The Las Vegas 51s, the city’s Minor League Baseball team, ranked dead last in the Pacific Coast League in average attendance last year.

Beers, drinking red wine instead of his namesake beverage, was chatting in Mundo, a restaurant in an area known as Symphony Park, which is where the future Las Vegas soccer stadium would be situated. The council voted last month, by a count of 4-3, to approve $56.5 million in subsidies for the building of the facility, which doesn’t include the cost of the land that the city would be giving away ($38 to $48 million), or of a $20 million parking garage the city plans to build that would provide space for events in the stadium.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who called the building of a soccer stadium a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” has made the case that the venue would boost economic development and growth in a still rather sparse section of Vegas proper. “Our charge is to help the downtown sustain a viability as a place to come to,” she said last month, echoing similar calls from officials all across the country who want to spend public money on private sports facilities. Las Vegas’ 2013 Economic Development Investment Strategy also includes building a sports facility at Symphony Park and wooing a major league team as goals.

Goodman even warned of dire consequences in her recent State of the City speech if stadium opponents get their way. “Without substantive and new reasons to visit our downtown, our city businesses will be challenged to stay open. Our casinos and hotel rooms will not be filled. Our shops, our galleries, our taverns, our restaurants will empty,” she said.

Los Angeles Galaxy's Landon Donovan, right, controls the ball past New England Revolution's Andrew Farrell during the first half of the MLS Cup championship soccer match Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in Carson, Calif.

The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution to win the 2014 MLS Cup.

However, the academic research doesn’t support her. In fact, the overwhelming majority of it shows the opposite: Stadiums, arenas and professional teams don’t drive growth, development or personal incomes in any significant way. Some research has even found that professional sports can be a net negative for a metro area. Of course, that hasn’t slowed the deluge of public money being spent on such facilities; in 2010 alone, billions of taxpayer dollars went to new stadium construction or renovations.

Is there any reason to think Vegas’ bid on an MLS stadium would produce different results? According to the experts, there isn’t.

[READ: Save College Sports Before It’s Too Late]

“People go to Vegas for particular purposes: gambling, seeing shows and so on. And how is this sports franchise – Major League Soccer, NHL, whatever it might be – going to impact that? I don’t see how it’s going to add anything in any serious meaningful way,” says Coates, the economics professor.

At issue is something called the substitution effect, which is what happens when spending that would have occurred on one thing – in this case, maybe a concert or some hands of blackjack – instead goes toward something else, such as a soccer game. Shuffling money around in that manner doesn’t cause economic growth; it just causes benefits to accrue to one private entity at the expense of another.

“Are they going to generate new visitors to this facility or are they going to have visitors in Las Vegas go there as opposed to [University of Las Vegas] football games and basketball games? If that’s what happens, all they’re doing is moving money from one place to another,” says Coates. “What they really need to do is attract people into this facility who would not have spent their money in Las Vegas in the first place. I’m really skeptical that they’re going to do that.”

Beers agrees. “Penn and Teller live here,” he says, referring to the famous magician duo before stringing off the number of other acts, including Kiss and Elton John, attracting visitors to the city, and which would be in competition with any new sports team for tourists’ limited dollars.

‘A nighttime city.’ If enough tourists don’t show up, then, can locals make up the difference? That brings up another problem: Vegas’ all-night work schedule. “We also are unique in that we have an economy based on being alive 24 hours a day, which takes employees,” Beers says. “It’s not like we have an entire city of workers who, once the sun goes down, are looking for something to do.” This is an issue the NHL has acknowledged, with Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly saying, “It’s a nighttime city, so it would have to be uniquely scheduled in terms of focusing maybe on industry nights as opposed to your typical Thursday-Saturday nights where everybody would be working.”

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) skates by Los Angeles Kings center Trevor Lewis (22) during their NHL preseason hockey game Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Las Vegas.

The Los Angeles Kings play the Colorado Avalanche in an NHL preseason game in Las Vegas.

Casting more doubt on the idea that the city is a good fit in terms of building a local fan base was a feasibility report on a Las Vegas MLS stadium produced by the technical and management support company AECOM . Though generally coming off as bullish on the stadium, it noted that Vegas would be the fourth smallest metro area hosting an MLS team, with the third lowest median household income. (The report itself has been a bit of an embarrassment, initially double counting money – a mistake which, once corrected, turned the stadium’s estimated profits into a loss.)

Add to that the fact that the Las Vegas Legends of the Major Arena Soccer League pull in a scant 1,465 people per game, and there’s little reason to bet on locals coming to an MLS stadium in droves. (Yes, tourists could and likely will buy tickets, but then the substitution effect comes into play.)

All told, then, it’s unlikely that the stadium will provide the boost its proponents claim. “I don’t think too many realistic people anymore seem to buy the economic benefit argument, so you have to stop and say ‘Okay, it’s a social benefit.’ And that’s hard for an old accountant like me to measure,” says Beers.

Beers, along with the other two council members who voted against the stadium plan, are part of a drive to give voters the opportunity to deny any public funding from going toward an MLS stadium. According to early reports, they’re having little trouble rounding up the signatures needed to put a question on the ballot. But stadium referendums aren’t often successful. The only saving grace for the city may be the deal’s condition that MLS actually award it a franchise, which is far from a certainty, before the stadium plan moves forward.

[READ FCC Finally Votes to Sack the NFL Sports Blackout Rule]

‘Play the gambling card.’ But might professional sports leagues want to have a foothold in Vegas for some other reason than the potential for ticket sales? Robert Baade, a professor of economics and business at Lake Forest College, believes so.

“The reluctance to relocate to Las Vegas has always been because of the close link to the gambling industry. But more and more, I think, professional sports leagues and teams are coming to the recognition that gambling is a very important and potentially lucrative revenue stream,” he says. “To ignore it is to ignore something that could contribute significant amounts of money to league coffers.”

Artist's rendering of the area around the Las Vegas Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.

A sign teasing the future look of Las Vegas Arena.

Sports betting is currently illegal in most U.S. states (but not Nevada) thanks to a 1992 law, the Professional and Amatuer Sports Protection Act, that was vigorously supported by the major professional sports leagues. In October, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill that would have legalized sports betting in the Garden State, the NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL and MLB all filed suit to stop it, saying that the federal statute rendered Jersey’s law illegal. A U.S. district judge agreed, putting Jersey’s entrance into the sports betting market on ice.

But the leagues may be changing their tune. “Betting on professional sports is currently illegal in most of the United States outside of Nevada. I believe we need a different approach,” wrote National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver in a November New York Times op-ed. “I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.”

Mark Cuban, the charismatic owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, agreed, noting the potential for gambling entities to partner with the professional leagues. “We’ll charge the casinos for information sources, video sources,” Cuban said. “All you’ve got to do is look overseas. You can go and legally bet on the NBA in the U.K. and a bunch of other countries, and they’re actually big customers of NBA video. … So you’ve got a template already that’s legal in the rest of the world other than America.”

MGM Resorts unveils plans for the Las Vegas Strip's first Park.

Artist rendering of the Las Vegas Arena and park.

Indeed, many European countries allow sports gambling without the fears of match-fixing and other chicanery actually coming to fruition. Advances in technology and the growth of fantasy sports games – which the pro leagues have embraced as games of “skill” rather than “luck” – have made it easier than ever to put money at stake on the outcome of a pro game.

And a lot of money is potentially at stake. Good estimates are tough to come by, but it seems clear that tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions, of dollars are wagered illegally on sports in the U.S. each year. That’s a very lucrative market if the major sports leagues can tap into it, and New Jersey is not the only state where lawmakers are eyeing the potential revenue from legalized gambling, either; Indiana and California have both tried to make the same play.

However, that doesn’t mean all leagues are necessarily psyched about the association. “You don’t want guys in the stands with bet tickets in their hands and the only reason they’re watching the game is so they can cash in on a bet afterwards,” said Daly, the NHL deputy commissioner. “That’s not an environment you want to foster or create as a professional sports league.”

[READ: Maryland TV Tax Credits Are a Real House of Cards]

Still, what better way to make the connection between major sports and gambling legitimate than placing a team in the heart of Sin City? It may be that the one thing most everyone associates with Las Vegas – gambling – is also the thing that brings major sports there, despite all the other potential pitfalls and problems.

“They’re really willing to play the gambling card in a big way,” says Baade. “I really see this as inevitable. Las Vegas is going to be given a chance.” For the city, then, it may be that sports become the ultimate roll of the dice.

Las Vegas Arena

Resort announces plan for 20,000-seat arena

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Resorts International wants to build a privately funded, 20,000-seat indoor arena behind the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts that would feature boxing, top-draw headliners and special events.

Its partner is the pre-eminent sports and entertainment promoter AEG, whose collection of arenas includes the Staples Center and the Home Depot Center in Southern California, Best Buy Theater in Times Square, New York, and facilities in Shanghai, Beijing, Sydney, Stockholm and elsewhere.

The project, announced Friday morning, is anticipated to be financed with equity contributions from each of the partners as well as privately funded third-party financing, the company said in a statement.

MGM said retail shops, dining, entertainment and other enterprises would accompany the arena, stretching from the Strip to Frank Sinatra Drive behind the resorts.

“This new facility would be an extension of our entertainment legacy and continue our leadership position in the worlds of boxing, sports, concerts and other events that drive significant visitation and revenue to Las Vegas,” MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said. “AEG’s dominant position in arena development, programming and management makes it an ideal partner for this venture.”
UNLV Now Stadium Renderings
UNLV Now mega events center rendering. Launch slideshow »

AEG President and CEO Timothy J. Leiweke said his company’s network of venues would “allow us to maximize booking and operations opportunities.”

The partnership with MGM Resorts, he said, “brings together the two largest promoters and operators of live entertainment venues in Las Vegas, guaranteeing the long-term success of the new arena.”

Design and planning is well under way, and the partners will begin seeking appropriate approvals immediately, a company spokesman said.

The MGM-AEG arena plans, the latest entry in the continuing and competing efforts to build a free-standing indoor arena in Las Vegas, will not affect the proposed UNLV Now, the “mega-center” stadium project that would reshape the university campus, said Don Snyder, the project leader.

“The two proposals are pretty much apples and oranges,” Snyder said. “UNLV Now is designed for hosting large events that would draw between 25,000 and 60,000 people. There’s always been separate conversation about arenas. All along, I’ve felt that an arena project can be done by individual companies and with private money.”

MGM Resorts had initially thrown its support behind UNLV Now but has since said the center’s price tag of $800 million to $900 million was too prohibitive, raising doubts about MGM’s $20 million pledge for campus project.

Snyder maintains MGM is still supportive of the UNLV Now project. UNLV is now working with various Strip stakeholders to “dial in” the cost of the stadium.

“These types of projects are always difficult,” Snyder said. “These are very normal and healthy discussions.”

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which usually takes a neutral stance on competitive projects, stayed true to form, not even mentioning MGM in its public comment.

“Our resort partners have invested billions of dollars into providing the facilities and amenities to provide visitors with the best possible experiences,” the organization that markets Las Vegas said in a statement. “Any project that is going to enhance the Las Vegas brand experience and potentially attract more visitors is beneficial to the future of our destination.”

Snyder, who recently stepped down as UNLV’s Hotel College dean to focus on the UNLV stadium, said he welcomed AEG’s interest in bringing more events in Las Vegas. AEG, which is the world’s largest operator of sports teams and stadiums, previously had partnered with Caesars Entertainment on a proposed arena project on the Strip.

Snyder said he wasn’t concerned that MGM-AEG’s proposed arena would compete for events with UNLV’s stadium. The UNLV stadium can host larger events and is a neutral site, meaning it could attract a wider range of events, he said.

“They are complementary projects, not competitors,” Snyder said. “AEG is a great company, and is good for our community.”

The Los Angeles-based AEG has several connections with Los Angeles real estate billionaire Ed Roski, who is UNLV Now’s private developer partner.

Roski co-owns the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings with AEG. Roski and AEG are also partners of the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Roski’s Majestic Realty, which owns the Silverton Casino, has pledged to front 40 percent of the estimated cost of the UNLV Now stadium.

UNLV Now developers are hoping to raise the remainder of the cost from resort industry contributions, naming rights and corporate partnerships, as well as a special tax district awaiting approval from the Legislature.

UNLV is still working with Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick on the legislative proposal, Snyder said. Budget-conscious lawmakers in Carson City are unlikely to approve a tax-increment financing district without a concrete plan from UNLV Now developers regarding how they hope to finance the stadium.

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, which Snyder helped raise $500 million for, took three legislative session for final approval on a similar tax district. From conception to completion, the Smith Center took 18 years, Snyder said.

Snyder said he remained confident a bill for UNLV Now would reach the floor of the Legislature in the remaining three months of the 2013 session. However, he was adamant he wanted to get the UNLV stadium project right, not to hastily speed it through.

“I’m convinced as ever that this project meets the need for this community,” Snyder said. “It is still a game-changer for UNLV.”

MGM Resorts operates the 16,800-seat Grand Garden Arena at MGM Grand and the 12,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center at Mandalay Bay on the Strip. The Thomas & Mack Center, which has 18,776 seats when configured for basketball games, is just over two miles from MGM Grand.

Rival Caesars Entertainment, through its Las Vegas Arena Foundation, also has worked to develop a 20,000-seat arena east of the Quad on the Strip. The Caesars project is controversial because the company has attempted to win legislative approval of a 0.9-cent sales tax in a tourism district within a three-mile radius of the site.

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MGM’s new arena won’t stop Goodman from pursuing facility downtown

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MGM’s new arena won’t stop Goodman from pursuing facility downtown
Mayor feels centers can co-exist, saying, ‘We aren’t here to compete, to challenge anybody’
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MGM Resorts International

An artist’s rendering of MGM Resorts International’s project the Park, which will connect New York-New York and Monte Carlo with an eight-acre outdoor experience.

Just build it already: Why Las Vegas can’t land a pro sports team
Another arena proposed for the Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas’ history filled with failed stadium, arena projects
Racing to build Vegas’ next venue

As ground is broken today on a privately funded arena on the Strip, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman remains adamant that a downtown stadium will be built and that both venues could be home to professional sports franchises.

“We would always look to be complementary to what’s being offered elsewhere in the city. We would never build another wheel or observation tower or something like that,” she said ahead of today’s groundbreaking for the arena backed by MGM Resorts International and partner AEG. “What we are all working for, comprehensively, is to make Las Vegas continue to be a tourist attraction. Not only nationally, but internationally. So, yes, we are going to go ahead (with arena plans).”

Goodman has championed development of an arena downtown at Symphony Park that she believes could lure an NBA or NHL team to relocate to Las Vegas. The city has a contract with Baltimore-based Cordish Companies through May 31 to negotiate everything from funding to design.

Goodman cheers the MGM Resorts/AEG project, a $350 million, 20,000-seat venue being built behind the Monte Carlo and New York-New York. It will anchor an 8-acre park with tree-lined streets, outdoor dining and shopping. That arena and the one she envisions in Symphony Park, which would be partially funded with public money, would not compete, she said. Goodman points to New Orleans’ two stadiums and two pro teams — the New Orleans Saints of the NFL and the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA.
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Artist rendering of the proposed downtown/Cordish arena.

“Let the pieces keep coming forward. Let’s see how they fit,” she said. “But let’s not work against each other. Let’s work in a community mindset. We aren’t here to compete, to challenge anybody.”

Although Cordish has made little progress since entering into its contract with the city since late 2008, the MGM Resorts/AEG project took shape quickly. So quickly, in fact, that Las Vegans might have thought it too good to be true when plans for it were first announced last year.

But with the first shovels going into the dirt today, an arena on the Strip is likely to be the first to open after a series of failed proposals including:

• Las Vegas National Sports Complex: Proposed for 485 acres of land near the M Resort in Henderson, the project from developer Chris Milam never had financing. Milam is a multiple-time loser. In 2011, he said he wanted to buy the Las Vegas 51s and build them a stadium opposite the Mandalay Bay on the west side of Interstate 15. That facility, he said, could also accommodate an NBA or Major League Soccer team. He also tried building on the old Wet ‘N Wild site on the north Strip.

• Las Vegas Arena Foundation: The 20,000-seat Silver State Arena was proposed by Caesars Entertainment, to be built east of Harrah’s and the Imperial Palace. Part of the funding for the project would have come from a newly created tax district, which didn’t get support from county commissioners.

• UNLV Now: The 150-acre UNLV Now development called for a 50,000-seat domed football stadium at the UNLV campus. It would have been more than a home for the Rebels. Officials planned on hosting concerts, mega-fights and other events. While the project died, UNLV is still working on building a football stadium.

“We have over the years had so many ideas, so many things that are going to happen, and they end up in the trash,” Goodman said.

Goodman hopes the city’s plans for downtown, a $390 million, 20,000 seat venue, aren’t included on the list of failures. Cordish, in a slim 4-3 vote by the city council in late January, received a four-month extension to complete a construction feasibility report and an investment-grade feasibility study.
Downtown/Cordish arena
Artist rendering of the proposed downtown/Cordish arena. Launch slideshow »

If Cordish and the city part ways, Goodman said she’d still pursue getting something built at Symphony Park, a 61-acre walkable plaza that already includes the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute and the Smith Center. All that’s missing is the arena.

“If it goes forward with Cordish, I am thrilled to death and I want to move it quickly,” she said. “If it fails, we are going to continue to move forward with other opportunities.”

Regardless if it was in downtown or near the Strip, the area’s chances of getting a professional sports team will improve today. Previously, any team entertaining thoughts of moving couldn’t seriously consider Las Vegas because there was no facility.

“I would be thrilled if Jim Murren (of the MGM) made a phone call and said, ‘Carolyn guess who we just signed?’” Goodman said.

The proposal at Symphony Park isn’t the only one Goodman is keeping an eye on.

Summerlin Las Vegas Baseball Club LLC, a joint venture of Howard Hughes Corp. and Play Ball Owners Group, including investors Steve Mack, Bart Wear and Chris Kaempfer, purchased the Las Vegas 51s last year with plans of moving them from Cashman Field downtown to Summerlin.

The proposal in Summerlin is for a 9,000-seat stadium across from Red Rock Resort. It would be part of a mini-urban village already being constructed.

It’s just that Goodman feels strongly about keeping the team downtown, where the 51s have eight years remaining on a lease at Cashman Field at about $300,000 a year.

“We have the greatest respect and admiration for (officials) at Howard Hughes,” Goodman said. “We hear from our residents; they love coming downtown for baseball. We have people who don’t want them to move.”

She later added, “As we go forward in the mix, it is important for sports and the arenas concept, or stadium, that we not only include Symphony Park but look to Cashman and how that figures in.”

However, the 51s appear determined to leave. Cashman Field, one of the oldest facilities in Triple-A, is north of most major downtown redevelopment.

New baseball club owners have been working for more than a year on everything from financing to dealing with multiple municipalities. The land in Summerlin is part of Clark County; Cashman Field is leased by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and is located in Las Vegas. Getting everyone on the same page hasn’t been easy.

“There are

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Proposal For Las Vegas Downtown Arena Calls For $239M In City-Provided Funds

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Las Vegas would use $187M from bonds backed by arena revenue to fund the project

The city of Las Vegas “plans to continue working with Cordish Companies to develop” a $390M downtown sports arena, with the city paying $239M raised “in part by a special tax on downtown businesses,” according to Benjamin Spillman of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The terms are “attached to a proposal to extend by four months a three-year-old exclusive negotiating agreement with Baltimore-based Cordish,” which would contribute $151M to the deal. It is scheduled to “go before the city council Jan. 22.” If approved, Cordish and the city “would have until June 1 to finalize a development agreement based on the proposed terms.” If the development agreement “isn’t finalized by then, Cordish would walk away” with about $2.4M based on the initial agreement from ’10. If the council “rejects the extension, the city’s existing negotiating agreement with Cordish would expire by the end of the month.” The proposed terms show the city would “fulfill its end” using $187M from “bonds backed by arena revenue, nearly $52 million from a special improvement district … and $3 million from a tourism improvement district funded through sales tax.” City Manager Betsy Fretwell said that “aspects favorable to the city include a provision that the city would be repaid for its contribution before the developer and that the city would own it.” The downtown proposal is “one of several local arena projects in varying stages of development.

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Another arena proposed for the Las Vegas Strip

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cropped-LasVegasArena_Exterior_Cuni.jpg

A privately funded $1.3 billion arena with a retractable roof has been proposed at the former Wet ‘n’ Wild site on the Strip.

Former UNLV and NBA player Jackie Robinson, a Las Vegas businessman, announced today plans to break ground next year on the 22,000-seat arena that could house basketball, hockey, boxing, rodeos and concerts.

No tenants have been signed for the arena, but Robinson has ties to the NBA and has interest in bringing a team to Las Vegas. He said the arena would be large enough to play host to NCAA regional basketball tournaments.

Developers have tentatively named the project the All Net Arena and Resort, and the project would include a high-end resort with a spa. A promenade called Victory Plaza would lead visitors from Las Vegas Boulevard past lush landscaping and water features to a restaurant, nightclub, wedding chapel and retail amenities as well as the arena.

The four-level arena would include 75 luxury boxes: 25 1,000-square-foot executive suites and 50 500-square-foot corporate suites.

The retractable roof would enable the arena to host traditionally outdoor events such as tennis matches and rodeos, or indoor sports such as basketball and hockey.

“I’m really excited about this,” Robinson said today. “I started on this about four or five years ago, and at the time, the economic conditions didn’t help. So we just waited for the right time. We have proper financing in place, the economy is moving in the right direction and our lenders are saying now is the time.”

Robinson said he and his lenders would meet with representatives of the Clark County Commission in the weeks ahead to answer questions and resolve any problems, including parking.

The 862,500-square-foot arena would be built on 27 acres between the yet-to-open SLS Las Vegas and the dormant Fontainebleau project site.

Robinson said he has a team of financial backers that includes several banks and international and domestic lenders. He also said the project qualifies under U.S. Department of Commerce and EB-5 Immigrant Investor jobs and capital investment programs. Robinson estimates the project would result in more than 19,000 construction, arena and hotel operation jobs, and the project is supported by the federal Minority Business Development Agency.

No tax money would be used for the project, but the program would qualify the developers for tax credits.

Robinson has hired Minneapolis-based Cuningham Group Architecture, which has an office in Las Vegas.

Brett Ewing, director of resort development for Cuningham’s Las Vegas office, has been hired as the project architect and is wrapping up negotiations with a high-profile sports architect for the arena.

Legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian recruited Robinson, who played for the Runnin’ Rebels from 1973-78. He ranks 10th in UNLV career rebounds with 669 and 19th in scoring with 1,258 points. He redshirted one season because of an ankle injury — the season UNLV went to the Final Four in 1976-77.

He played four years in the NBA with Seattle, Detroit and Chicago, playing for the SuperSonics team that won the NBA title in 1979 and five years in Europe after his NBA career.

Robinson held executive positions in several Las Vegas companies that worked in retail, real estate, construction, credit, and the food and beverage industries. He was a one-time owner of the Las Vegas Silver Bandits of the defunct International Basketball League.

The All Net Arena site was once the proposed location of the Silver State Arena, a project pushed by Texas developer Chris Milam, who had earlier envisioned it as the site of the Las Vegas Tower, a massive high-rise hotel development.

Another arena is planned on the opposite end of the Strip. MGM Resorts International is partnering with sports and entertainment promoter AEG on a 20,000-seat indoor facility between New York-New York and the Monte Carlo.

A group also is meeting at UNLV to consider a football stadium on the campus. The group hasn’t determined the size of the facility or whether it would be a domed stadium.

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New Las Vegas Strip arena to cost $350 million

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AEG and MGM Resorts International have ironed out the details of a deal to build a $350 million arena behind the Monte Carlo and New York-New York resorts.

Planned as the centerpiece of MGM’s ongoing $100 million project to revitalize the cluttered pathway between the two resorts and bring more visitors outside, the 20,000-seat arena will stretch from Las Vegas Boulevard to Frank Sinatra Drive.

Officials expect to break ground on the arena in summer 2014 and open in spring 2016. Finances will be siphoned from equity contributions made by each of the partners and funds from a third-party source.

“The combination of MGM and AEG, along with the excellent Las Vegas Strip location, is already driving interest from potential investors in this exciting new development,” Jim Murren, MGM Resorts International chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Populous, a leading design company with large arenas in London and Berlin, has signed on to design and develop the arena, expected to house major sporting events, concerts and private events.

“Bringing together the knowledge, experience and assets of our respective organizations, we will create an arena that offers fans the best live entertainment experience,” AEG CEO Dan Beckerman said.

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Nevada Harrah’s Sports Arena Initiative (2012)

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The Nevada Harrah’s Sports Arena Initiative did not make the November 6, 2012 statewide ballot as an indirect initiated state statute. The proposed initiative would have allowed a 20,000-seat sports arena on the Las Vegas Strip. Specifically the initiative would have imposed a 0.9 cent sales tax in a taxing district near the proposed arena. The revenue would finance bonds to construct the arena.[1]

The legislature had a March 18, 2011 deadline to decide whether or not to enact the measure. Early reports indicated that there was not enough support in the legislature for the measure to be approved, meaning it was likely to appear on the 2012 ballot. The legislature, specifically the state senate, confirmed that sentiment and rejected the measure, sending it to the statewide ballot for a public vote on March 17, 2011.[2][3]

The measure did not make the ballot, however, after the Nevada Supreme Court struck it down.

Support

Supporters

The following were groups, organizations and individuals who were in support of the measure:

Opposition

Opponents

The following were groups, organizations and individuals who are opponents of the measure:

Arguments

  • According to Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith about the measure: “While that might not make it unprecedented in Nevada, where the politically connected have rarely been forced to play by the established rules, it doesn’t make it right. If it were to pass in November, even a two-bit mentalist could predict attorneys would have a field day shooting holes in it at the next level.”[4]
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Las Vegas’ history filled with failed stadium, arena projects

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 REI Neon had an elaborate $10.5 billion scope that included an arena, hotel, casino and residential area with a retail and entertainment district that it unveiled in 2008. The project never got off the ground.

Arena and stadium proposals being promoted for the Las Vegas Valley must overcome a long history and a barren wasteland littered with failed projects.

Las Vegas has seen the death of more venue ideas than any other city in the country in recent years. They’ve come and gone as rapidly as the weekend tourists that populate the Strip, with nearly a dozen plans laid to rest within the past decade and countless more spanning back further.

“We’ve watched it for 15 years,” said Daren Libonati, a veteran in the local stadium and arena business who runs Justice Entertainment Group. “The reality is, the only people to ever put their money where their mouth was were the hotel properties.”

Financing issues have caused the deterioration of the vast majority of the hypothetical arenas. Clark County commissioners have nixed a number of projects asking for public funding.

Several of them have ties to the projects now being discussed. Most notably, Texas businessman Chris Milam, who’s at the forefront on the Las Vegas National Sports Complex in Henderson, has seen three projects fail to get off the ground the past three years.

His most memorable effort came with the Silver State Arena, proposed for the former site of the Wet ‘n Wild water park on Las Vegas Boulevard south of Sahara Avenue. Plans were withdrawn after the county rejected a proposal to fund 15 percent of the venue with public money and nearby residents opposed construction.

Milam eventually turned his focus to a four-arena complex west of Mandalay Bay, but those talks ended more prematurely.

“You need to know where you’re going to get your money,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman said when asked of all the failed projects. “They’re dreams, but they haven’t done their homework or they haven’t gotten their money.”

Goodman is committed to bringing a world-class venue to downtown Las Vegas. But downtown’s failure rate when it comes to building an arena has proven just as high as the rest of the valley.

Milam briefly explored building his complex off of Charleston Boulevard, but Baltimore’s Cordish Cos. has an exclusive agreement with the City Council to study the area’s potential for an arena.

The deal came after the REI Neon project failed to get off the ground four years ago. REI Neon had an elaborate $10.5 billion scope that included an arena, hotel, casino, and residential area with a retail and entertainment district.

A decade ago, an Idaho businessman also came close to constructing a 7,500-seat downtown arena for the Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team.

“When I was younger, everyone wanted to meet all the guys and hear all these great ideas,” recalled Steve Stallworth, currently the general manager of South Point Arena and Equestrian Center. “Now, after so many, we’ve kind of become numb to it.”

Stallworth has spent 25 years in the local venue business. He’s worked at three of the five arenas standing in Las Vegas and helped open what would become the Wranglers’ home, the Orleans Arena, when the downtown proposal fell apart.

The city’s other pre-eminent minor-league franchise, the Las Vegas 51s, hasn’t been as fortunate in finding a new place to play. The 51s — who are stuck at Cashman Field, which has not undergone any major renovations since its opening in 1983 — looked to relocate to Henderson in the early 2000s.

Funding hurdles killed the idea, which team officials hoped would entice the Los Angeles Dodgers to keep their Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. The Dodgers bailed in 2008, citing Cashman Field as a primary reason.

On a grander scale, the southeastern part of the valley was in the discussion to land an arena two years ago with a project headed by developer Garry Goett. The Las Vegas Arena Foundation hoped to build a 20,000-seat venue near the South Point.

Libonati said he engaged in preliminary talks years ago to bring a Meadowlands-type compound that could house multiple professional sports teams around the same area.

“Wonderful projects have been presented,” Libonati said. “It’s just been a matter of getting the economics right.”

That’s the classic battle, the same one staring in the face of the current arena proposals.

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Las Vegas Arena

Las Vegas wants to build an NHL-ready arena

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Las Vegas wants to build an NHL-ready arena

Jul 15, 2012, 2:32 PM EST

Las Vegas arena design

While Quebec City is busy building a potential future home for the NHL and Seattle is looking to build a new arena of their own, you can add Las Vegas to the list of places looking to attract a franchise.

The Las Vegas Sun (h/t Kukla’s) reports that the Las Vegas Arena Foundation has proposed a 20,000 seat arena to be built on the Strip in Sin City in hopes of providing a home for either/both the NBA or NHL to move to. The Foundation wants to fund building the arena thanks to a sales tax hike to help pay off the $500 million estimated cost.

The Sun report says the proposed arena would have 94 luxury suites to go along with the 20,000 seats making it an ideal setup for a team to call it their home. Major professional leagues have been wary to pursue Las Vegas, however, thanks to that whole legalized gambling thing in Nevada.

As for the NHL’s interests in Vegas, the annual NHL Awards call the city home as does big time hockey fan Jerry Bruckheimer who has had ownership aspirations in the past. Vegas joins Quebec City, Seattle, Brooklyn, and Kansas City as potential future landing spots for the NHL either via relocation or expansion.

Henderson Arena

Henderson Arena

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Henderson City Council failed to see red flags on stadium project; speculative arenas are practically unheard of

Las Vegas National Sports Center

Mar 15, 2013

A rendering of the proposed Las Vegas National Sports Center three-stadium complex in downtown Las Vegas.
Las Vegas National Sports Complex
Artist rendering of the proposed Las Vegas National Sports Complex in Henderson.P__t0

Henderson settles lawsuit against would-be sports arena developer (3-14-2013)
Developer denies ‘deal’ was reached with stadium promoter Milam (3-01-2013)
Henderson alleges Milam had struck secret deal to develop homes on stadium site (2-28-2013)
Brochure advertising proposed stadium land for sale leaves officials scratching their heads (2-25-2013)
Closing date delayed for land sought in Henderson arena deal (2-05-2013)
City alleges developer with arena plan only wanted cheap land (1-29-2013)
Henderson City Council lets stadium feasibility study move forward (9-06-2011)
More business news

Building a professional sports arena or stadium without a team committed to play there is practically unheard of.

Developer Chris Milam wanted to build four of them — and got the Henderson City Council’s full support.

There were plenty of red flags when Milam pitched his proposed Las Vegas National Sports Complex, but city officials either failed to recognize them or ignored them.

The city eventually sued Milam on fraud charges. As part of a settlement reached Tuesday and finalized Thursday, he is barred from working on future developments in Henderson.

It’s nearly impossible to finance a speculative arena or stadium, let alone a cluster of them as Milam envisioned. Also, the project’s main financier reportedly was a Chinese surveillance-equipment maker, not a well-known stadium construction lender, such as Goldman Sachs or Bank of America.

In the end, no teams committed to the facility, and Milam’s group was sued in late January for allegedly trying to flip the government-owned project site to other developers.

Sports industry executives outside of Nevada laughed at Milam’s stadium plans when contacted by VEGAS INC this week.

“If these are truly major league sports facilities, doing one of them by itself would be an unbelievably difficult task, much less four,” said Jack Hill, project executive for the new San Francisco 49ers’ stadium being built in Santa Clara, Calif.

Milam’s project would have cost at least $2 billion, industry consultant Michael Rapkoch estimated. Rapkoch said he’s “perplexed” the project progressed as far as it did and did not receive closer scrutiny.

“I’m baffled by your city government,” he said.

Milam claimed he negotiated with team owners and league commissioners to lure franchises to his venues.

But pro clubs typically have long-term leases that are expensive to break, making it difficult for teams to move. League officials also are wary of letting teams play year-round in America’s gambling mecca, which is part of the reason Las Vegas currently has no major league teams.

As Rapkoch sees it, Henderson officials failed to thoroughly vet Milam’s plans.

Rapkoch’s Texas-based company, Sports Value Consulting, assesses team values for prospective buyers, some of whom claim to have financing sources in China. When he asks to speak with those bankers, he never gets a call back, he said.

“There’s a lot of that going around,” Rapkoch said of the China claims.

Around the country, speculative facilities occasionally are proposed but rarely are built. John Loyd, an Alabama consultant who helps build and renovate pro stadiums and arenas, could name only one purely speculative facility built in the United States: the Alamodome in San Antonio.

That arena, owned by the city of San Antonio, opened in 1993 to lure a National Football League team. It never got one.

Today, the $186 million facility is used for trade shows, conventions and performances.

Almost no one would lend hundreds of millions of dollars for a speculative facility “and not have some expectation of how they’re going to get their money back,” Loyd said.

When told that Milam planned to build four speculative venues, Loyd chuckled, saying he’s never heard of that kind of project.

“That would be most unusual,” he said.

•••

Milam laid out plans to build an arena and three stadiums on 485 acres of desert owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. He sought to buy the site near the M Resort through the agency’s auction process.

Initially, he received little skepticism from City Hall.

The Henderson City Council in September 2011 unanimously approved a preliminary project agreement with Milam’s group and gave their full support to the BLM land sale.

Councilman Sam Bateman commended Milam and city staff for drafting the project agreement and said the complex is critical for the region.

Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion lauded Henderson for having a “we can” mentality. She thanked Milam and city staff for pursuing the project.

A few council members had questions about the project’s financing, but no one voiced skepticism about the likelihood that Milam could build such a massive, speculative development.

“I’ve said it all along: What community, what mayor wouldn’t want a project like this in their city?” Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen said last April, after a council meeting in which Milam declared project financing was fully approved. “We’ve done our due diligence, and we’ll continue to do our due diligence. I think that if things fall into place and we get this thing going, it will be a boon for Henderson for years and years to come.”

Milam proposed his project during the recession when there was little other activity in Henderson.

“I think it’s something the city (had) to listen to,” City Attorney Josh Reid said this month.

Reid, who became Henderson’s top lawyer four months after the council approved Milam’s plans, said city officials tried to vet Milam’s claims. But “most of the information was held by him and his investors,” Reid said.

For instance, Milam claimed he worked with investment firms Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Piper Jaffray to arrange financing. The firms, however, never committed to the project.

“We know that now,” Reid said.

Hafen and council members Bateman, Debra March and Gerri Schroder, who all approved Milam’s plans and remain in office today, did not respond to requests for comment. Vermillion, who resigned from her seat in December 2011 and later was investigated by the FBI for allegedly misusing money from her charity, could not be located.

Milam attorney Terry Coffing said his client would be the first to acknowledge that the project was risky, but Milam felt that if he made enough progress on construction, he could have landed a team.

Coffing said Milam spoke many times with National Hockey League officials about getting the league-owned Phoenix Coyotes to move to Henderson. If that worked out, Coffing said, Milam also could have landed a National Basketball Association team, as the two clubs could have shared an arena.

“It’s kind of a chicken and egg philosophy: If you build a stadium, they’ll come,” Coffing said.

NHL spokesman Frank Brown declined to comment, saying the league doesn’t disclose with whom it does or doesn’t speak.

•••

Milam started planning the stadium project in 2009. He felt his arenas could replace the region’s aging venues, including Sam Boyd Stadium, the Thomas & Mack Center and Cashman Field, all of which are at least 30 years old.

NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer commissioners also “appeared to be warming” to the idea of having teams in Nevada, despite the state’s legalized gambling, according to court papers filed by Milam’s legal team.

Milam initially tried to build an arena or ballpark in several other parts of the valley, including near the Strip, but his plans fell through. He launched discussions with Henderson city officials in summer 2011.

With the region decimated by the recession, the project’s estimated financial impact was likely alluring. Construction alone was forecasted to bring almost $1.5 billion of activity to the city, and the complex’s annual operation would have produced another $515 million a year.

Milam also pushed a fast timeline. He initially sought to break ground in summer 2012, finish the arena in summer 2014 and hold the first NBA game a few months later.

By comparison, the 49ers’ new $1.2 billion, 68,500-seat stadium has been under construction for almost a year. It is expected to open in 2014 — after a decade or so of planning.

Despite claiming to work with powerhouse investment firms to arrange financing, Milam’s main source of funding ultimately was slated to come from China Security and Surveillance Technology. The company, based in Shenzhen, China, manufactures and installs security and surveillance gear.

According to Milam, the company agreed in spring 2012 to finance a $650 million, 17,500-seat indoor arena. It did not require an anchor tenant as a condition for financing. The company planned instead to charge a high interest rate of 20 percent.

A few months later, its board allegedly reversed course and decided they would finance the deal only if Milam lined up a team.

Milam’s group got furthest with a plan to bring the Sacramento Kings to Henderson, according to court documents. But that deal fell apart last year after the construction-financing terms were changed, the filing said. It also cited a “slow pace of discussions.”

Chris Clark, spokesman for the NBA team, would not confirm if talks were held. Representatives for China Security, Morgan Stanley and Piper Jaffray did not respond to requests for comment. Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally declined comment.

All told, Milam’s potential success with the project depended largely on whether he could get professional teams to move to Henderson — an unlikely prospect.

Only a few teams are candidates for relocation, and league commissioners are wary to allow expansion teams to pop up, said Dan Grigsby, chairman of the national sports law group at the Jeffer Mangels Butler and Mitchell law firm in Los Angeles.

“I don’t know where the teams would come from,” Grigsby said.

Proposed Henderson arena keeps clearing hurdles

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 | 9:55 p.m.

Chinese company agrees to finance proposed Henderson arena (2-10-2012)
Developer, Henderson city officials move forward on stadium project (10-18-2011)
Henderson City Council lets stadium feasibility study move forward (9-6-2011)
Henderson to hear proposal for stadium complex near M Resort (9-1-2011)
Sports complex proposal in Henderson a ‘done deal’ (8-11-11)
Proposal emerges to build three-stadium complex in downtown Las Vegas (2-8-2011)
UNLV athletic department sees on-campus stadium as a game-changer (2-1-11)
Developers put early plans for UNLV stadium, retail district on display (2-1-11)

With financing in place, a proposed indoor arena in Henderson is gaining momentum, and construction could begin as early as October, developer Chris Milam told the city council Tuesday night.

Plans for the multibillion-dollar Las Vegas National Sports Complex, which could eventually comprise four stadiums on 485 acres of federally owned land near the M Resort and Interstate 15 in Henderson, were unveiled in September.

Milam, who is leading the effort, said a $650 million construction loan needed to build the first stadium — a 17,500 seat enclosed arena that would host events and possibly a professional basketball franchise — was approved last week by the investment committee of China Security & Surveillance Technology Inc., a company based in Shenzhen, China.

Although details need to be worked through before a final agreement is signed, Milam confidently proclaimed that the financing has been “fully approved.”

The next major step for the arena comes June 4, when the developer must submit a bid to purchase the land, appraised at roughly $10 million, to the Bureau of Land Management.

Milam’s presentation came as the city council debated an amendment to the stadium’s master plan agreement that strengthens protections for the city should the project go belly up.

The amendment, approved unanimously by the council with Councilman John Marz absent, gives the city the right to purchase the land if the developer hasn’t made significant progress finalizing financial, planning and legal details by March 2013, director of utility services Dennis Porter said.

The city would also have the option to buy the land before it could be sold to any third parties, Porter said, and if a third-party sale does occur, the city would receive any net proceeds, preventing the developer from flipping the property for a profit.

Initial plans for the complex called for the indoor arena and an outdoor stadium suitable for a professional soccer franchise to be built concurrently at a cost of $1.3 billion.

Milam said his company has decided to focus strictly on the indoor arena at this point due to the large amount of work needed to prepare for building and opening the facility.

If the land sale goes smoothly and financing is fully secured, Milam said he hopes to start construction in October, with the arena targeted to open in September 2014.

Development of the soccer stadium, as well as a potential baseball stadium and a 63,500 seat domed stadium suitable for professional football, would follow after the arena opens, Milam said.

The project is not contingent on an NBA team relocating to Las Vegas, but discussions with two franchises are ongoing, with the potential to add a third, Milam said.

Mayor Andy Hafen expressed his support for the project, but underscored that the city is doing everything possible to minimize risk to Henderson taxpayers.

“I’ve said it all along: What community, what mayor wouldn’t want a project like this in their city?” he said. “We’ve done our due diligence and we’ll continue to do our due diligence. I think that if things fall into place and we get this thing going, it will be a boon for Henderson for years and years to come.”

Las Vegas Arena

Developer, Henderson city officials move forward on stadium project

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With hopes of reaching a final agreement by April, a developer and Henderson city officials are working quickly to lay the groundwork for future negotiations on a proposed $1.3 billion stadium project.

On Tuesday night, the Henderson City Council approved a series of planning items related to the streets, sidewalks, trails, sewers and public transit that will serve the multi-sport complex.

The master plan agreement, which serves as the framework for negotiations, was also updated to include basic terms for the buildings’ lease and place guidelines on future phases of development.

The project, slated to be built on 500 acres of federal land east of Interstate 15 near the M Resort, was first introduced at a city council meeting in September. The plan calls for an initial phase of building that will include a 17,500-seat enclosed arena suitable for a professional basketball team and a 25,000-seat, open-air stadium to host a professional soccer team.

The stadium would be privately financed, with the city helping implement a tax increment district or a tourism improvement district. City officials insist taxes will not be raised due to the development.

The project is being led by Chris Milam, who has tried unsuccessfully to build a stadium at several sites around the valley over the past few years.

City officials and the developer hope to have a final agreement in place by April, which would allow construction to begin in the summer.

Director of Utility Services Dennis Porter said the city still has the option to walk away from the project at any point until the final agreement is signed.

Several of the changes approved by the council Tuesday night will give the city more flexibility and help minimize risk from the project, Porter said.

Among the biggest changes to the initial agreement approved in September is a clause that requires the developer to complete construction within three years of the agreement. If the developer doesn’t, the 500-acre site must be returned to its initial state, and any completed construction would have to be torn down, Porter said.

“What we didn’t want was for the project to get started and then just sit there,” he said.

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Welcome to Our Website

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Hello and Welcome to our website! You know with so much happening in Las Vegas as it rebound from the rescission, Las Vegas has proven once again that it can with stand the test of time in any situation! With all kinds of bids on at new Las Vegas Arena, once that is stamped, built and ready to go I am positive that once again Vegas won’t ever be look at the same when it comes to sports, concerts and entertainment when it has to do with Arena Vegas! Arena Las Vegas will again play a key factor in this wonderful town we call Las Vegas! It’s too bad all of this couldn’t have happen before the biggest fight in the world, but I am very sure that the Lv Arena won’t lose any ground and will truly make it for it in the long run. With arenas and stadium proposals in the making Las Vegas has once again stayed in tune with what this city needs and what will make it keep thriving for excellence! So stay tune and keep checking back because this website will be connecting the dots for ticket sales, events and will keep you informed on not only what is happening in the Las Vegas world of arenas and stadiums, it will also keep you abreast of everything that is going on in and around the Las Vegas area!

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