With news that there will be basketball in Las Vegas this summer (albeit not the traditional summer league) it got me once again thinking about the often proposed but never completed strip arena.  Arenas have been proposed in a few different places including behind Bally’s and next to Fontainebleau and Sahara, but none have taken hold.  Would a strip arena make sense?

The wisdom is that the arena would attract events for locals and visitors alike to the strip and maybe even allow for an NBA or NHL team to move to town.  The problem with this assessment is that one-off events already have homes at venues at hotel-casinos.  So people who will travel for those sorts of events already have a place to go.  Furthermore, were Vegas to get a team, I don’t think the market is very big for people who would travel to Vegas to watch their team play.

I do think that a strip stadium could increase the visitation by Las Vegas Locals to the strip.  Presuming that Las Vegas got a team and people would attend, they would naturally filter out into nearby places along the strip.  However, they may not stay all night as they would still have to drive home and can probably find better drink prices and gambling odds at properties near where they live.

Overall, for the sporting events that Las Vegas does get, the Thomas and Mack center at UNLV seems fine.  Unless Las Vegas were to get a major league sports team, I don’t see the need for a new arena on the strip.  Even if they did, I don’t see it being the lure that they hope.  It’s great to see people investing in the strip in new ways (like The Linq) other than demolishing an old resort for a new monstrosity, but I don’t think that a strip arena is the right thing.  Perhaps the land on the north strip should be repurposed and we just all need to accept that the Las Vegas strip has condensed to be from Encore to Mandalay Bay.

Originally posted on AC2LV