The Wall Street Journal, CBS Sports, and other major news outlets today reported the National Hockey League has decided to approve an expansion team in Las Vegas, which will play in MGM Resorts International's new 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena.
The reports, citing anonymous sources, say the league will formally vote to approve the plan by Black Knight Sports and Entertainment's Bill Foley to bring the NHL's 31st team to the Las Vegas Strip. Foley and his partners will pay a $500 million fee, assuming the league votes to approve the plan at its June 22 Board of Governors meeting.
The earliest the new team could play is the 2017-18 season. While talks are also underway to bring the National Football League's Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, that is farther off even if the league approves the move, as it will require the team to build a new stadium.
From a meetings industry perspective, the hockey news means 41 regular-season home games a year that groups can use to entertain meeting and convention attendees, clients, and incentive winners. It also means Las Vegas is adding one of the few major types of entertainment it does not already have -- a professional sports team.
The arena was built with the express intent of "making it usable by groups," MGM Resorts international senior vice president and chief sales officer Michael Dominguez told Successful Meetings recently (see videos below).
The Arena's event spaces include five lounges with capacities ranging from 150 to 700, two 75-person party suites, four outdoor terraces with a combined capacity of 600, and a party deck with a capacity of 460. In addition, there is the 18,000-square-foot Hyde Lounge, an offshoot of Bellagio's Hyde nightclub. It incorporates two separate private suites.
Beyond that, the terraces overlook Toshiba Plaza, a two-acre, open-air event space facing the arena's 175-foot by 45-foot video wall. It has three separate stages and connects the arena with MGM Resorts' New York-New York and Monte Carlo hotels, as well as the Park, a large outdoor area with dining, shopping, and entertainment options between the two hotels. The Park has a number of spaces that can be screened off, and like Toshiba Plaza and the T-Mobile Arena, it is MGM Resorts property, so it can be used for groups at the company's discretion.
Michael Dominguez discusses the ways groups can use the T-Mobile Arena and The Park.