Vegas Bets on T-Mobile Arena to Lure NHL Team

T-Mobile Arena|
Now that T-Mobile Arena is built, will the NHL come to Las Vegas? That’s one of the hot topic in the city after its latest newest venue debuted in April. Operated by MGM Resorts International, the new facility can hold up to 20,000 fans and has 44 luxury suites and eight bunker suites (high-end spaces with no views of the action). The hope is it will be awarded an NHL expansion team that would begin play at the arena in 2017. There’s talk of the pro hockey league taking that step in June, when the NHL Awards show will take place in Las Vegas. “Getting a pro sports team makes a statement about what kind of city Las Vegas has evolved into,” says Daniel Rush, vice president of global sports and event sales for MGM Resorts International. “It is not just a mecca for hotels and resorts.” With an ownership group lined up and 14,000 people signed up to purchase season tickets should Vegas get a team, the city is now just playing the waiting game. “People want it,” adds Rush. To do its part, MGM deliberately kept its name off the new arena. You won’t find MGM signage in the building either, making it neutral ground. Not only does that play off the citywide push to attract a sports team, it also allows MGM to sell suites to other Vegas venues like Wynn and The Venetian. MGM has also taken a conservative approach to booking the facility far out to conferences and events. “We don’t want to impact the potential of having a team,” says Rush. A handful of corporations have booked the venue for meetings, but MGM is aiming to keep October through June—the NHL season duration—as free as possible. Not including any hockey games, early estimates put more than 100 events inside T-Mobile Arena, says Rush. That number jumps to 150-160 with a pro sports team. Aside from high-profile concerts—the arena hosted The Killers and Guns N Roses in its first few weeks—boxing and pro wrestling events are coming in this summer. This fall will bring the Professional Bull Riders World Finals and NBA exhibition games featuring the Los Angeles Lakers. In December, UNLV will host Duke in a regular season college basketball game. Inside, you’ll never forget you are in Las Vegas, with huge windows providing views of the Strip and adjacent Toshiba Plaza, an open-air plaza, and The Park, a vast outdoor expanse capable of holding almost 10,000 people. Toshiba Plaza is available for volleyball and outdoor basketball tournaments. The on-site Hyde Lounge, an 18,000 sq.-ft. luxury bar, is the place for in-game and post-event networking and mingling. “[The arena] is a whole new experience,” says Rush. “It fills a void in Las Vegas.” Photo Credit: MGM International