3 Vegas News Updates: A Local NBA Team, MSG Sphere Construction & Hotel Room Service

Written By Marc Meltzer on June 14, 2022
Room Service Changing But NBA Coming In Las Vegas

Everything in Las Vegas is changing all the time. The news and rumors are always progressing or regressing, and we’ve got a few more for you this month.

Will Las Vegas be home to an NBA team? The short answer is definitely, maybe. Someday, possibly.

What’s up with that giant Death Star-looking building behind The Venetian? It’s another entertainment venue under construction.

It’s not uncommon that someone visiting Las Vegas is returning to the room at 3 a.m., and everything is closed, but they desperately need one bite of a burger and two plates of fries. That room service scenario, captured here, may become a thing of the past at some Las Vegas casinos.

Will Las Vegas get an NBA team?

We last checked in on the possibility of Las Vegas becoming home to an NBA team in March. At that time, commissioner Adam Silver said, “no doubt Vegas will be on the list” when discussing possible cities for the league to expand.

Not much has changed about the NBA to Las Vegas rumors besides the possible timeline of when the NBA will expand. While discussing possible expansion after the 2024 season earlier this month, Silver reiterated:

“As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it.”

While the NBA commissioner isn’t officially talking about expansion, a possible A-list owner made his intentions public. In March, there was a rumor from Bill Simmons that Lebron James wanted to own an NBA franchise in Las Vegas.

Lebron speaks on owning a Vegas NBA team

James recently confirmed that rumor on HBO during an episode of his show, “The Shop: Uninterrupted.”

Forbes recently declared that Lebron James is officially a billionaire. While he’s very well off financially, James will still likely partner with a group to bring an expansion team to Las Vegas.

According to NBC Sports, the expansion fee alone will be approximately $2.5 billion. The cost of operating a team will be even more.

The bottom line is that Las Vegas is still on the table to become home to an NBA expansion team and Lebron James is officially interested in being an owner.

Commissioner Silver is tamping down timeline expectations by saying it’s not being discussed “at this moment.” That doesn’t mean discussions won’t pick up after the NBA Championship is over.

The NBA may not be ready to make an announcement on future expansion in Las Vegas (or any city) right now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the near future.

Construction on MSG Sphere moving along

The Madison Square Garden Sphere at The Venetian (The Sphere) is the giant round structure that looks like the Death Star under construction behind the casino. The massive building recently made waves as golf fans could see the construction in the background of Wynn Golf Club during The Match on TBS.

Construction on The Sphere is progressing nicely at this point. The non-sports and entertainment venue was recently topped off, and work continues. MSG is targeting an opening date during the second half of 2023 for The Sphere.

The target opening will likely happen before the Las Vegas Grand Prix next November. The venue is not only a sponsor, but cars will be driving around the venue during the race around the Vegas Strip.

Photo credit: MSG

Inside and outside The Sphere

Eyes are drawn to The Sphere because, at 366 feet tall, it will be the largest spherical structure on Earth. When construction is completed, it will be covered with approximately 580,000 square feet of fully-programmable LED paneling.

This will make The Sphere the largest LED screen on Earth. Coincidentally, it will be located near Resorts World, which has a 100,000-square-foot LED screen on its west tower.

This enormous venue can easily be seen from a hotel room at The Cosmopolitan and other Strip hotels. Even though it’s located behind the Vegas Strip, it will change part of the Las Vegas skyline.

The exterior will be a unique building in Las Vegas. However, visitors should pay attention to what will be inside the venue.

Inside The Sphere, MSG is creating a unique multi-sensory venue in Las Vegas:

“MSG Entertainment has developed a multi-layered audio system equipped with more than 160,000 speakers that utilize beamforming technology to deliver targeted, crystal-clear and consistent audio to every seat in the house. The venue will also feature multi-sensory technologies such as immersive seating, evocative scents and changing temperatures, to take experiential storytelling to an entirely new level.”

The Sphere will be a non-sports entertainment venue when it opens next year.

Las Vegas room service continues to change

Room service has been on a decline in US hotels for years. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, only 37% of US hotels in 2014 offered room service. That number dipped to 22% in 2016.

When Resorts World opened last year, the hotel operator took a new approach to room service. The hotel teamed up with Grubhub to offer the On The Fly food delivery and pickup service.

Instead of traditional room service with large fees, On The Fly will deliver food from restaurants on the property at Resorts World to a hotel room for a nominal fee. The service will also deliver food to the pool and poker room.

The switch to using mobile app food delivery came as more people than ever were using the services at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mobile ordering system also came at a time when hotels around the world were looking to move away from traditional room service.

Room service around the country and in Las Vegas continues to evolve, with much of it going digital, automated, robotic and/or contactless. Luxury properties like Wynn and The Cosmopolitan continue to offer traditional room service. That may not be the case at all Las Vegas casinos in the future.

New room service at Luxor

MGM Resorts, on the other hand, is looking at different room service options for its properties. Traditional room service at Luxor stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic and won’t return to the budget property on the south end of the Vegas Strip.

Instead, the property now offers Luxor Express. The new type of room service is similar to what Resorts World offers. Guests can order delivery to rooms from 7 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. for the time being. This should expand in the future.

Luxor Express only delivers from Pyramid Cafe and Backstage Deli. The service will expand to Diablo’s Cantina and Public House shortly. All four restaurants are currently featured on a mobile takeout and delivery page on the Luxor website.

Future of room service in Las Vegas

Customer preferences are always changing, and more hotel guests in Las Vegas are ordering food delivery from various apps from local restaurants. These services will meet guests in a lobby instead of coming directly to the room.

Casino hotel operators will have to evaluate what works best for their customers while maintaining their bottom line. For example, Resorts World’s On The Fly system makes it easy enough for guests to order room service, or they can place an order to pick up.

The tactic by Resorts World attempts to keep all dining in-house. Guests could otherwise order food on another food delivery app from restaurants elsewhere in Las Vegas.

It makes sense that luxury properties with the more affluent guests would continue providing traditional fee-heavy room service. The guests at these properties are often less concerned about saving a few bucks on the amenity.

At the same time, budget hotel guests might appreciate less expensive alternatives to the full-service in-room dining hotels have offered for years.

Stay tuned. Luxor won’t be the last property to offer a different take on room service.

Las Vegas NBA Could Be Coming And Room Service Could Be Leaving

Photo by MSG
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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