The area just south of the Las Vegas Strip is about to get a lot more crowded as the city's attractiveness as a sports destination rises to new levels.
Las Vegas finds itself in a place Los Angeles had been for much of the late 90s and early 2000s.
NFL teams looking to muscle their hometown cities into providing tax money to help build their multi-million and billion-dollar stadiums would use the threat of moving to Los Angeles to get politicians to move their feet.
For a while, the strategy worked.
Cincinnati ponied up the money for a new stadium in 1995 after owner Mike Brown threatened to move to either Baltimore or Los Angeles without a new stadium.
Ditto for Tampa Bay the same year after new owner Malcolm Glazer said he would be forced to relocate without a new stadium, floating L.A., Baltimore, Cleveland, and other cities as a possible landing spot.
No fewer than a dozen teams (about a quarter of the league) listed L.A. as a potential landing spot if they did not get the public money they wanted to build a stadium, according to ESPN.
After the NFL awarded Los Angeles two teams in 2016, the city came off of the negotiation chessboard.
However, Las Vegas has stepped in as the relocation boogeyman for wealthy franchise owners.
Las Vegas Makes Another Play for the NBA
After Oakland missed out on moving to L.A., the Raiders quickly pivoted and decided to move to Las Vegas.
The NHL also awarded Las Vegas an expansion team in short order, signaling a new era for Sin City that includes professional sports.
Now the NBA and MLB are the only two of the big 4 sports leagues not located in the city.
Not surprisingly, MLB's Oakland Athletics are in heavy flirtation with officials in Nevada about relocating the team to the desert.
And now a new 20,000-seat arena planned for just south of the Vegas Strip could be the carrot that draws the NBA to Las Vegas.
Sports and entertainment venue builder Oak View Group announced that it plans to break ground next year on a privately financed arena that will sit on 25 acres of land near the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road.
“This unprecedented project is an industry game-changer, and we will usher in the evolution of Las Vegas as the new entertainment and sports capital of the world," Oak View CEO Tim Leiweke said, Venues Now reported.
The arena is expected to be the centerpiece of a $3 billion entertainment area that will feature a casino and a 2,000-room hotel.
Any NBA team looking to pick up sticks and move in the near future could use the arena as a future home. In the meantime, just a few blocks north, MGM's (MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International Report T-Mobile Arena seats between 17,000 and 18,000 people and could be used as a home stadium until the new arena is completed.
This joins a plan on the North Strip, which will also contain an NBA-ready arena.
"A multibillion-dollar funding package was unveiled this week for former NBA player Jackie Robinson’s arena and hotel project, a long-sought venture on the north Strip that has seen other financing plans come and go," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Vegas' Expensive Expansion Plans
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is projecting spending of $4.512 billion on 29 new projects that are expected to add 7,602 hotel rooms and 791,000 square feet of convention space in Southern Nevada by the end of 2024.
By the end of 2024, Vegas will have more than 158,000 hotel rooms.
The biggest project in the pipeline is Fontainebleau Las Vegas on the Strip. The hotel will feature 3,780 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting space when it is completed in the fourth quarter of 2023.
The $1.9 billion MSG (MSGE) - Get Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. Class A Report Sphere at The Venetian is a 17,500-seat entertainment venue that is also targeted for completion by the end of 2023.
After a small hiccup during the coronavirus pandemic that hampered the tourist-reliant city, Las Vegas has an expansion plan that should make up for any lost time.
If another sports team does decide to make the desert its home, the neighborhood could be crowded by the time that move is made.