Mayor Carolyn Goodman says she’s still pursuing a new downtown Las Vegas arena despite the groundbreaking today on a new $350-million Strip arena in back of New York-New York.
A downtown arena has been a goal of city officials for years, with Las Vegas working with Cordish Cos. on a plan, and other arena plans have come and gone before AEG and MGM Resorts International announced plans for a new facility behind the New York-New York on the Strip. Cordish has been unable to come with an arena plan for Symphony Park, but Goodman says she’s confident a plan will emerge and that the greater Las Vegas area can support multiple arenas. (Remember, UNLV still owns and plays in Thomas & Mack Center.) From the Las Vegas Sun:
Goodman cheers the MGM Resorts/AEG project, a $350 million, 20,000-seat venue being built behind the Monte Carlo and New York-New York. It will anchor an 8-acre park with tree-lined streets, outdoor dining and shopping. That arena and the one she envisions in Symphony Park, which would be partially funded with public money, would not compete, she said. Goodman points to New Orleans’ two stadiums and two pro teams — the New Orleans Saints of the NFL and the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA.
“Let the pieces keep coming forward. Let’s see how they fit,” she said. “But let’s not work against each other. Let’s work in a community mindset. We aren’t here to compete, to challenge anybody.”
Now, comparing NFL/NBA facilities is misleading: the Superdome is set up on a completely different economic model than is an arena, and there’s no way multiple arenas in a market won’t compete. There are few situations where NBA and NHL teams don’t share arenas with everyone thriving. There are very few cities where two or three major arenas can compete: Target Center suffered when the Xcel Energy Center opened in the Twin Cities, Glendale (Az.) courted financial disaster after opening Jobing.com Arena (competing with a downtown Phoenix facility) and even New York City has a tough time supporting three arenas (Madison Square Garden, Prudential Center, Barclays Center). In Kansas City, officials debate whether Kemper Arena should remain open, with Sprint Center drawing all the big acts. Las Vegas does not seem to be the sort of market to support multiple arenas, and we’re guessing Cordish Cos. will come to the same conclusion before a May 31 deadline to have a deal in place.
Image of new Strip arena courtesy of MGM Resorts International.