The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Tuesday unanimously approved spending $2.25 million to sponsor the NBA’s first-ever in-season tournament in Sin City in December.
All 30 NBA teams will participate in the tournament with initial games that will count in the standings played at NBA sites, but the semifinals and championship game to be played Dec. 7 and 9 at T-Mobile Arena.
Las Vegas doesn’t have an NBA team, but several local parties are optimistic that one day the league would award an expansion franchise or relocate an existing team to Southern Nevada.
Oak View Group is building an “NBA-ready” arena attached to a new resort planned on Las Vegas Boulevard near Blue Diamond Road. In addition, former UNLV basketball star Jackie Robinson is attempting to get his All-Net Arena, planned on a lot between the Sahara and Fontainebleau, built for possible NBA use.
Raiders owner Mark Davis, who owns the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, has a relationship with MGM Resorts International to play games at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob Ultra Arena. It’s believed MGM could offer to host NBA games and share space with the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
The LVCVA expects the new tournament to draw 26,000 out-of-town visitors to the games, resulting in an economic impact of $53.1 million.
LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill acknowledged the NBA’s partnership with Las Vegas with the city hosting preseason games in the city and rookies and second-year players participating annually in the NBA Summer League at UNLV. The recently completed Summer League season was one of the most successful on record.
The sponsorship agreement will provide the LVCVA with advertising, marketing and hospitality opportunities before, during and after the event.