Ever since the NHL awarded Las Vegas with a franchise, the city has been linked to more major professional sports teams moving to the desert.
The rumors about pro sports franchises often happened prior to the Vegas Golden Knights dropping the puck in Las Vegas. It seems as though the rumors have shifted into a higher gear more recently.
Now that Las Vegas is home to two teams of the four major US sports, Las Vegas Raiders and Golden Knights, rumors continue to fly that the other two of the big four will soon have a team in Las Vegas.
The NBA and MLB team Oakland A’s have both been teasing Las Vegas as a new market in different ways. If both deals happen, Las Vegas will be home to all four major professional US sports leagues. Just a few years ago, that number was zero.
NBA seems like it’s coming to Las Vegas
Las Vegas has been in the rumor mill to get an NBA franchise for quite a while. In 2016, the CEO for MGM Resorts, Jim Murren, speculated that Las Vegas would get an NBA team within a few years of the completion of T-Mobile Arena and Allegiant Stadium.
MGM Resorts is a 50% owner of T-Mobile Arena, which is located behind New York-New York and Park MGM casinos. MGM Resorts operate both properties. The company also operates the three closest casinos to Allegiant Stadium.
Murren’s comments sparked the rumor mill for a couple of years, but nothing happened. The rumors and expectations of an NBA team coming to Las Vegas popped up again last year.
The rumors became more substantial in October 2021 when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discussed a potential Las Vegas franchise at the CAA World Congress of Sports.
Commissioner Silver said that he already considers Las Vegas to be the 31st NBA market. He also said he considers the NBA to already be in Las Vegas.
The NBA Summer League is an annual tradition that takes place at the Thomas & Mack Center. Silver says Summer League “sells well over 100,000 tickets.”
On a related note, NBA Summer League is an inexpensive form of entertainment for anyone visiting Las Vegas.
Silver said that there’s “no doubt” Las Vegas will be on the list of markets when the NBA decides to expand.
Fast forward to late February of 2022.
Lebron James involved with a Las Vegas NBA team?
Simmons mentions that “the leading contender” to get a Las Vegas team is the Fenway Sports Group. The company owns the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool football (soccer) club, and more.
Simmons also thinks that LeBron James will somehow be involved with a Las Vegas NBA team. Simmons notes that James could be a point person for the team. He also notes that James wants to own an NBA team in the future.
There’s no timeline on the NBA expanding to Las Vegas. As they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there’s a lot of smoke here.
Oakland A’s considering move to Las Vegas
Much like the NBA, Las Vegas has been rumored to be getting a Major League Baseball (MLB) team for years. Remember the years of rumors about imploding Rio All-Suites Casino Hotel to build a stadium for an MLB team?
There was also that time when Henderson attempted to lure the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Las Vegas suburb near the South Point Casino. The Oakland A’s are the most recent team threatening to move to Las Vegas.
While the A’s are negotiating with Oakland to get a new Waterfront Stadium District, it’s also exploring the idea of moving to Las Vegas. According to A’s team president, the team is looking at four locations to build a new MLB stadium in Las Vegas.
In February, Kaval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that,
“All the sites and potential partners have pros and cons, and we’re weighing those as we make a final decision and pick a final site, where an announcement would be made.”
Kaval continued saying,
“We’re just trying to look at all the aspects. Whether it’s media, the location, gaming and what we could do in-and-around the ballpark and whether a casino is attached or not.”
A’s still working on staying in Oakland
Just prior to Kaval teasing Las Vegas about four potential stadium locations, the Oakland City Council voted 6-2 in favor of certifying an environmental review of the Waterfront Stadium District. This was seen as a major hurdle for the project to move forward.
The deal for a new A’s stadium in Oakland hasn’t been finalized, but that could happen this summer. There also isn’t a definite deal for a stadium in Las Vegas yet.
Las Vegas appears to be closing in on an NBA team. The potential for an MLB team in Las Vegas is still up in the air. One or both of these moves could become clearer as soon as this summer.