Oak View Group Building $ 3 Billion Sports and Casino Project in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sign
Sin City’s sports and gambling scene could be adding a new player in the next couple of years.

The Oak View Group of spots executive and entrepreneur Tim Lieweke announced last Wednesday that it has purchased a 25 acre property in Las Vegas which it plans to turn into a $3 billion sports and entertainment venue. The site is about 10 minutes from the Las Vegas strip and near Interstate 15 and I-215, adjacent to the new high-speed train station.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Lieweke said that the plan is to build a 20,000-seat arena, and a casino with a hotel. The arena alone is expected to cost $1 billion and the project is expected to break ground next year with 2025 as its targeted completion date.

Said Lieweke:

“Las Vegas is the entertainment capital and so what we have to build is the best we have ever built for Las Vegas.”

NBA Expanding to Las Vegas?

Lieweke also teased on the possibility of the NBA coming to Las Vegas, saying that if the league wants to come to Sin City, they will be ready. The NBA has always had a presence in Las Vegas with the league holding its Summer Leagues there. The WNBA also has a franchise based in Sin City in the Las Vegas Aces. But as big a market Las Vegas is, no NBA team has ever been based there.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said last year that while the NBA isn’t currently looking at expanding the league but if the time comes, Las Vegas will be in contention to land an NBA franchise. Rumors are linking Las Vegas and Seattle to a story about LeBon James and the Fenway Group leading the next NBA franchise, although a league spokesperson denied the issue.

Las Vegas as Sports Haven

Las Vegas has become more than just a gambling haven and boxing’s favorite destination over the years. Aside form the aforementioned NBA Summer Leagues and the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA, the NHL also expanded to Sin City in 2017 with the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Two years ago, the NFL relocated the Raiders to Las Vegas and its $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium. The UFC also holds regular events at its APEX Facility in Paradise, Las Vegas and most recently, Formula One announced that it will be holding a race in Sin City next year.

While Lieweke hopes that his project will be the key to bringing the NBA to Las Vegas, he believes that it will be successful even without and NBA franchise. He says that his arena will give competition to the five other arenas in town. It is near the airport and the high-speed train station that connects Las Vegas to Los Angeles, making it the logical first stop for Las Vegas visitors. Of course, with sports and entertainment coming, the gambling side of it will follow.

MGM Resorts Proposes to Host Remaining NBA Season in Las Vegas Property

NBA LogoAlthough the NBA season is still currently suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league is looking into where they could potentially host the remaining games of the 2019-20 season if the suspension gets lifted soon.

Currently, the NBA is figuring out whether or not they can return to action sometime this summer. But, figuring that out comes with figuring out a prime location to host the games.

According to the New York Times, MGM Resorts in Las Vegas has reportedly offered itself as a host location to hold the remaining regular-season games.

The company believes their resort on the Las Vegas strip would serve as the ideal host for the league and its teams, setting them up in a quarantined portion of the Strip.

MGM Resorts has also reportedly sent proposals to other professional leagues outside of the NBA, including the WNBA, the NHL, and MLS, volunteering to the host site to hold their seasons as well.

Details of MGM’s Proposal

It appears as though MGM will have one “fully quarantined” campus in Las Vegas. This particular campus is where teams, players, and their coaches would stay and also be the same location where they would play their games.

Additionally, players’ family members, as well as NBA and broadcast media workers will also stay at the quarantined campus.

In the proposal, it was mentioned that the Mandalay Bay, which has 4,700 rooms and is connected to two other hotels: the Delano and the Four Seasons, has a large convention center that could build up to 24 courts.

In the past, the same convention center held games for the WNBA Las Vegas Aces. The way the courts would be designated would be five courts being used specifically for games, with the other 19 being used for game practices.

Should additional court space be needed, the proposal mentioned getting that additional space from the Thomas & Mack Center. The Thomas & Mack Center is an arena on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ campus, where the NBA holds its Summer League games.

No Details Given on Safety Protocols Just Yet

While MGM Resorts bid outlined the specific space they would use to host the league’s games, and that adequate, quarantined space is available, no details were provided on the specific health and safety protocol they would implement.

Although no details were given on that front, the company said those precautionary measures would be “extensive.”

According to the New York Times, any individual entering the designated campus would need to agree to the protocols they devise up, and that those same individuals will have to agree to remain at the resorts for the whole trip.

NBA Offers Guidelines on Ticket Refunds and Credits

The suspension of the NBA meant the suspension of games that fans had previously purchased tickets to.

On Monday, sources advised that the NBA began giving fans guidelines on what they could do with their purchased tickets. Those guidelines include policies on ticket refunds and credit backs.

However, the league hasn’t started canceling future games, as plans about what the league will do for the remainder of the season are still being finalized.

It’s important to note that while fans will start getting updated on ticket policies soon, that doesn’t mean the cancellation of games is guaranteed. What ticket holders should expect is that any future games will likely be fan-less.

Fans are being encouraged to continue monitoring the NBA ticket policy for important updates until a final determination is made regarding the remainder of the season.

Fan-less Sports Seems Like the Solution to Sports Returning Right Now

With basically the entire sports world being shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, it makes the most sense that the only way for sports to return right now is by being a fan-less event.

While that takes away a lot of the excitement, not to mention motivation for the players, it’s a seemingly winning solution to getting sports back to the global table.

It also seems to be the safest solution in a world that’s being heavily impacted by COVID-19.

Stay Tuned

What do you think about Las Vegas being a potential host location for the remainder of the NBA season? Do you think sports being held as fan-less events will change the way games are played? And do you think the NBA will even be able to return this Summer?

We’d love for you to weigh-in with your thoughts below!

Should a Fan-less NBA Season Resume, Las Vegas Event Could Serve as the Example

Basketball Player Shooting a Basket in GymWhile the NBA season is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league has been in talks of possibly resuming the season in Las Vegas, minus the packed arenas.

Should the NBA find the way to go through with it, an annually held Las Vegas fan-less event could serve as the blueprint.

The event? The NBA’s annual G League Winter Showcase held December 2018 and December 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The event, which serves as a scouting showcase for league executives, holds various games daily over a four-day period without fans present.

The G League Winter Showcase, which displays the talents of dozens of hopeful players, is held a month prior to January’s 10-day signing period.

These games were closed off to the public and only kept open for team and league staff members, agents, media personnel, and close family and friends of the players.

A Seemingly ‘Seamless’ System

While players typically get revved up from the energy of live crowds, players at the G League Winter Showcase had to look inward to pep up their own performance.

But while it was a challenge at first, players said that after the first couple of possessions, the games started to feel like normal games.

Aaron Magner, who works with Eventuris, a company that provides staffing for the G League Showcase, the games, although different, didn’t feel awkward. Magner said that’s because the games were produced so well, especially for it being such a unique playing experience.

The setup went like this: Four courts were built inside of Mandalay Bay’s Convention Center divided by a partition to allow play on either side to allow games to go on simultaneously.

League members, media staff, and close friends and family were even given assigned seating along the sideline, or on the risers along the baseline, both seating arrangements on the opposite side of players’ benches.

Music was played during timeouts or long stoppages during play, but outside of that, the only noises throughout the games were organic basketball sounds, like dribbling, players communicating to one another during the game, or shoes squeaking on the court.

NBA Season Suspended in March

When Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, it caused the NBA season to come to a screeching halt on March 11.

Initially, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league would be on a 30-day hiatus at the time he announced the shutdown, but it’s gone on longer than that and it’s still uncertain if it will be able to return in 2020.

The NBA was the first major professional sports’ league that suspended its season and ushered in the remaining leagues to suspend their seasons too, including NHL and MLB.

Sports’ suspensions came at an interesting time outside of the coronavirus outbreak, as many more states were just expanding their legalized options for sports betting.

League ‘Not in a Position to Make Any Decisions’

According to a comment Silver made during the NBA Board of Governors meeting held April 17, the league isn’t in any position to make any decisions at the present time, and there’s no telling when they will be.

When it comes to “bubble-like concepts,” like holding NBA games without fans present, Silver says the league isn’t seriously engaged to that particular kind of environment, given the fluidity and uncertainty of the outbreak’s nature.

The league is prioritizing human life over anything else, and that’s where the conversation began and ended during the board meeting.

Fanless Sports; Viable Solution in Bringing Resuming Sports

According to the testimony of some players at the G League Winter Showcase, a fan-less event setup would be a good solution in slowly reintroducing sports amid this pandemic. No fans? No issue.

The transition would be a seamless one because the schedule could work efficiently.

The games would start as scheduled, and players would leave the facility promptly once their games finish up. The absence of fans means the avoidance of unnecessary contact with more people than what’s required to get these games played and filmed.

Important April NBA Updates

April 17: According to sources close to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA and NBPA are working on closing a plan that will withhold 25 percent of every player’s paycheck in the league, starting May 15.

April 14: The Chinese Basketball Association is reportedly looking to postpone their calendar again until July. The association has been on hold since January 24.

April 13: Potential protocols that would get players ready for games are being discussed by league executive and team medical staff. A proposed plan under the new protocols would possibly include a 25-day program that players would undergo before they’re allowed game-play.

April 10: NBA teams come together in a play to encourage the league’s office to push the NBA draft date back from June 25 to no sooner than Aug. 1.

April 9: While no games have been played for a month at this point, NBA players receive their full check. For most players, that pay date was April 15.

April 6: For weeks, NBA and NBPA officials have been collaborating in checking the accuracy of multiple blood-testing devices for COVID-19 that would allow the league to track the virus in players. This is being considered the first step is allowing play to resume.

April 6: NBA lets teams know that organizations will not be allowed to conduct in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice. Teams are, however, allowed to hold virtual interviews with draft prospects, but lasting no longer than four hours for any single player.

April 1: 15 days after Brooklyn Nets announced that four of their players had tested positive for coronavirus, the team’s general manager, Sean Marks, announced that the team’s roster is now completely free from COVID-19-related symptoms.

Stay Tuned

We’re sure most of the world is missing professional basketball during this time of quarantine, but we’re not sure what the league will do next when it comes to coming up with a possible solution to resume play.

Whether that be holding games in a fan-less facility and location like Las Vegas, or waiting until the storm of the outbreak completely blows over, we will just have to wait on the official word from the league.

Weigh-in: Do you think fan-less sports be the best solution for bringing back sports, slowly but surely? Let us know what you think about the idea in the comments below!

NBA Update: Las Vegas Only City Seriously Being Considered for 2020 Playoffs

Thomas & Mack CenterThe NBA season was officially suspended March 11 when a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus. With its season in suspension, it makes sports hopefuls wonder if the season can be finished out in any other way.

It looks like any fighting chance for the NBA to resume their season would be for them to hold their playoff games in Las Vegas.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, the NBA is considering holding its entire postseason in Vegas. Vegas, which is home to the Association’s annual Summer League, which is held in Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center.

Sources revealed to Mannix that the league was looking to resume their play in a viable city, but that the NBA’s traditional postseason of four rounds of best-of-seven series wouldn’t take place. While the league is considering their options, they are “nowhere close to formalizing anything” as of yet.

According to the New York Post, the league has been searching for te perfect “one-site, fan-less, 16-team playoff and a five-to-seven-game regular-season prelude.”

Another prominent city that has its eye on hosting the league. Atlantic City’s mayor is currently trying to lure the league to the boardwalk and believes AC would be the proper space to hold the NBA playoffs.

Quarantining in One Location is the Only Real Option

For the NBA to resume their season, Mannix explained that the only real way this could work is by “quarantining in one location.” His source added that “Vegas is the only city the NBA is currently giving any kind of serious consideration.”

So, why Vegas?

Well, for one, the NBA already has an extensive history and relationship with the city and its civic leaders. Another major selling point is the abundance of venues and hotel rooms that Las Vegas has to offer compared with other major US cities.

Vegas could easily stage the entire playoffs without running into issues that less-equipped cities would likely have. The amount of space would also help ensure the safety of the players, especially if a single site is the only option amid the nationwide quarantine.

Potential for Playoffs Rests on COVID-19 Escalation

Of course, the only real way for the playoffs and the NBA season to even resume is if the COVID-19 situation deescalates on a global scale. With it nearing what’s predicting to be its worse level in the coming weeks, travel restrictions will continue to be enforced.

Currently, there are over a dozen NBA players who have tested positively for coronavirus, and the number of cases continues to grow exponentially.

The safety of the players and members of the league remains the utmost priority during these challenging times.

“I mean, the only thing I know is that we’re going to put safety first and we’re not going to take any chances. We’re not going to do anything that risks the health of our players, our fans, our staff, the whole organization,” said Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

Atlantic City Mayor Says He Wants NBA in His City Post Coronavirus

Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic CityOn Tuesday, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. says he’s trying to lure the NBA to return to the city after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

While that’s wishful thinking, given the current state of NBA’s entire season being canceled during the COVID-19 crisis, it would give AC residents something to look forward to during these challenging times if the Mayor’s wishes were fulfilled.

“It is my goal to recruit and bring people here,” Small Sr. said during a Facebook Livestream. “We are trying to work that out and bring the NBA here once things settle down a little bit. There is a possibility that once things are back to normal that the NBA could be playing some of its games at Boardwalk Hall.”

Boardwalk Hall Would Serve as Location for Games

Mayor Small Sr. kept pretty mums about the depth of these talks with the National Basketball Association, and it’s unsure whether he’s been in direct contact with league officials or the extent to which these conversations have progressed.

But, Boardwalk Hall is the recommended location that the NBA would play their games at, should the league choose to return to Atlantic City.

NBA Season Suspended Since Mid-March

On March 11, the NBA suspended its season. The decision came quickly once Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. When news broke out on this, it prompted a sports world shutdown and 58 other members of the organization to get tested.

The NBA was the first of the major professional sports leagues to cancel their season. The very next day, the NHL, MLB, MLS, U.S. Soccer, and multiple tennis associations followed suit and suspended their seasons as well.

March is a highly anticipated time for basketball lovers, with both the NCAA championships and March Madness. Once NCAA was subsequently canceled, they gave the following statement:

“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”

Why More NBA Players Are Testing Positive for COVID-19

The thinking behind this is that since basketball was having its regular season going during the virus outbreak, more players were in direct contact with the general public, as well as other people who are affiliated with the league.

But, the same logic can be applied to anyone who regularly frequented packed places, like the New York City subway or a busy airport.

So far, these NBA players, members, or teams have announced positive tests for COVID-19:

  • Marcus Smart, of the Boston Celtics
  • Kevin Durant, of the Brooklyn Nets
  • A member of the Denver Nuggets
  • Christian Wood, of the Detroit Pistons
  • Two players from the Los Angeles Lakers
  • Three members from the Philadelphia 76ers
  • Donovan Mitchell, of the Utah Jazz

Officials Considering Single-Site, Fan-less, 16-Team Playoff to Happen in a “Neutral City”

According to the New York Post, the league is looking into having a “one-site, fan-less, 16-team playoff and a five-to-seven-game regular-season prelude.”

This seems to be the NBA’s current plan given the current pandemic and utilizing one, fan-less site would create more of a television-only event, which would more properly adhere to current social distancing guidelines.

Considering their current plan, Atlantic City would fit the bill as an ideal host city for the tournament. For one, there’s plenty of hotel space that can be used for the teams, and the city itself is close to major television headquarters, which would make finding production labor an easier task.

Atlantic City is also close to the league’s headquarters, which is in New York. Other locations that are under consideration for the tournament are Las Vegas, Louisville, Orlando, and Hawaii.

Stay Tuned

It’s unclear what the remainder of the sports season will look like during the worsening pandemic, but it’s interesting to think about what the NBA might look like should they decide to resume their season.

It’s hard to tell with an everchanging situation of this magnitude. We can only hope that athletes stay healthy during this period and come back even stronger once the curve flattens. Stay tuned for more news.

William Hill and the NBA Announce New Partnership

One of the world’s biggest gambling companies is continuing to push into the emerging US market. This week, William Hill and the NBA have officially agreed to a partnership. William Hill will now act as an official sports betting partner of the popular US sports league.

William Hill Logo

The US has the hottest new sports gambling market in the world. It makes sense for gambling companies to secure partnerships with sports leagues. Let’s take a look at the details of this new partnership, and what it means for US sports gamblers.

Gambling Companies Continue Push Into the US Market

In case you’re unaware, every state in the US now has the ability to legalize sports gambling. The Supreme Court struck down PASPA in 2018, which had previously limited sports betting to Nevada. Today, 19 states have outright legalized sports gambling. More are likely to do so over the next couple of years.

Sports betting is proving to be a hugely successful industry for many states. New Jersey, for example, is earning millions of dollars every single month from this industry. Atlantic City, where all of New Jersey’s casinos are located, is now earning more from its sports betting operations than Las Vegas. Several new sportsbooks have recently opened here, too.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see almost every US state legalize some forms of sports gambling. Today, many now allow both online and land-based sports betting. Others only allow this form of gambling to take place inside casinos.

As a result of this new sports gambling boom, a huge number of companies are working to enter the US market. Several UK-based companies have begun offering sports betting services in several states. William Hill is among them. This company recently underwent a major transformation to ready itself for a push into the United States.

William Hill and the NBA have now agreed to an official partnership. Let’s look at what these two powerhouses have in store.

William Hill and the NBA Are Now Partnering Up

The NBA is, without a doubt, one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. Many believe that in time, the NBA will grow to become even more popular than the NFL, the US’ top sports league right now. This week, the NBA announced that William Hill will become their official betting partner.

Scott Kaufman, Senior Vice President of the NBA, commented on this news to the media this week.

“William Hill is a globally respected brand that has set an early standard for sports betting in the U.S. market,” he said. “We are delighted to partner with William Hill as they grow their business throughout the U.S. and are excited to work together to provide a world-class experience to our fans.” 

It makes sense for the NBA to partner with William Hill. The UK-based gambling company is already operating in 10 states. It has more than 85 years of experience in the gambling industry and is thought of as one of the best gaming operators in the world.

What Does This Partnership Mean for US Sports Bettors?

Moving forward, William Hill will have the ability to use the NBA’s official league date and logos across its sports betting platforms. The financial terms of this partnership are still unknown.

William Hill and the NBA will also be working to promote each other. The NBA will work to promote William Hill’s services across NBA.com, the NBA’s mobile app, and all of the league’s social media platforms.

Dan Shapiro, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development of William Hill US, is extremely excited to secure this new deal.

“We are proud of this creative partnership that benefits our customers and our partners nationwide while promoting legalized wagering on NBA events. The NBA has been a leader in recognizing the benefits of a legal sports betting market,” he said. “We expect this to be the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the league and its teams.”

In states where William Hill is operating, sports bettors will have access to a range of new NBA content. The ability to use official game data will make live betting options significantly easier.

Make sure to stay tuned for more US sports betting news over the next few months!