The NBA may not be ready to expand just yet, but Las Vegas is going to be prepared.
A new group secured 25 acres of land near the Las Vegas Strip and announced plans on Wednesday for a new sports and entertainment district complete with an “NBA-ready” 20,000-seat arena.
“The arena will be world class,” Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke said on CNBC. “We’re prepared to spend about a billion dollars on building the new arena. It will be for music, it’ll be for sports, it’ll be for cultural activities. Should the NBA decide to come — and by the way there’s no certainty or no guarantees that the NBA is ever coming to Vegas, but should they come — we will certainly be NBA-ready and make sure that we hit all of their standards.”
The group is planning to break ground on the project next year. It will be located about 10 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip and will include a hotel, casino, theater and more.
Though there are plenty of other venues and arenas in Las Vegas — including T-Mobile Arena, where the WNBA’s Aces and the NHL’s Golden Knights play right on the Strip — this new venue would be incredibly appealing should the NBA ever move to the city.
Will the NBA move to Las Vegas?
Nothing has been decided, and the NBA isn’t currently — at least publicly — talking about expansion.
When that time comes, though, Las Vegas is sure to be at the top of the list.
The NFL, WNBA and NHL have all expanded or had a franchise relocate to the city in recent years and found great success almost immediately. The Oakland A’s are in talks to move to Las Vegas, too, should their plans for a new stadium in the Bay Area fall through.
The NBA last expanded in 2002 with the Charlotte Bobcats. The last team to relocate was the Seattle SuperSonics, who moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
Based on the NBA’s current landscape, it’s not likely that a team is going to relocate anytime soon. So that leaves expansion, something commissioner Adam Silver has addressed repeatedly but hasn’t committed to.
When the time comes, he said in October, Las Vegas will “no doubt” be on the list of expansion cities. It won’t be alone, though. Seattle has had strong calls to get the NBA back in the city, and recently opened the new Climate Pledge Arena, which hosts the WNBA’s Storm and the NHL’s Kraken. There are also various other possibilities for expansion, including Kansas City, Vancouver, Mexico City and more.
With the new arena and entertainment district coming soon, however, it’s hard to imagine Las Vegas not being at the top of the list come expansion time.