T-Mobile Arena Las Vegas, photo FoxSports.com
Multi-million dollar projects in and around Las Vegas are nothing new. The casino gambling mecca of the west is no stranger to vast property investments, being home to some of the world’s most elaborate luxury high rise hotel resorts. But what was MGM thinking when it partnered with AEG to invest $375 million into a new property on the Las Vegas Strip that offers no gambling whatsoever?
According to MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren and AEG President Dan Beckerman, they were thinking of the future – a future where millennials are less interested in casino gambling, and more attracted to top-notch entertainment, dining and retail outlets.
The two companies’ joint venture resulted in yesterday’s grand opening of the new T-Mobile Arena in the heart of Sin City, situated on The Strip between New York, New York and the Monte Carlo; right across the Boulevard from MGM Grand.
Crews broke ground on the 16-acre multi-purpose complex in May of 2014, finishing up earlier this year. Last night’s launch was celebrated with performances by Las Vegas locals The Killers, Shamir and, of course, hometown legend, Wayne Newton.
With 20,000 seat capacity, the T-Mobile Arena offers a little bit of everything – except casino gambling, that is. From retail outlets and restaurants, to bars and nightclubs, to multiple concerts and events, MGM expects the new complex to be just as successful as any casino venture they’ve entered into.
“The market really needs it,” said Murren, referring to the additional space to host sports and entertainment events. “We turn away a lot of great acts every year, people that want to perform, but they don’t have the venues.”
This weekend, the arena will play host to an extraordinary event as 1980’s-born rock band, Guns ‘N Roses, reunite on stage for the first time in more than two decades. With two shows scheduled, both had already sold out by January, long before the arena’s grand opening on Wednesday.
Other events scheduled in the near future include performances by renowned music artists like Billy Joel and Garth Brooks, with country music legend George Strait signed on as a resident performer.
T-Mobile Arena is also designed to host sporting events like basketball, hockey and MMA fights, and will play host to the upcoming UFC 200 wherein Conor McGregor will be looking for redemption against Ultimate Fighter 5 champion Nate Diaz.
UFC matches have historically taken place at the MGM Grand, but Murren says he doesn’t anticipate the new arena will cause any drastic cannibalization from his other properties. “We want this to be the hometown arena for Las Vegas,” said the CEO, adding that “if we lose some events at MGM and Mandalay,” it’s still “good for the town, it’s good for MGM.”
Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) CEO Dan Beckerman reciprocated his partner’s way of thinking, saying it reminded him of when AEG built The 02 in London that opened back in 2007. “Geez, could there be more events?” he thought at the time, but he soon found out, “the new venue creates new events.”
Today, AEG is one of the world’s largest owners and promoters of events in the sports and entertainment industries.