A couple days ago, the Associated Press reported that the NHL will start an expansion franchise in Las Vegas, with play set to begin in Sin City for the 2017-18 season. With that in mind, Dan Patrick asked Silver about the viability of the Vegas market for an NBA organization at some point down the road.
Even though Silver remained persistent that the league is not expanding any time soon, he had a positive outlook on Las Vegas and it's ability to support professional sports teams.
From The Dan Patrick Show:
“I am keeping a close eye on it. It's a market that we've been playing our summer league in for at least the last 10 years, so we've been there every July. I've been to the new arena that AEG just built there. I think it's a great market. We're not in expansion mode, so it's not something that we're even thinking about right now. But based on what I've read the NHL is on their way, and even our old owners the Maloofs seem to be involved – the old owners of the Sacramento Kings. I know the people of Vegas love their sports.”
Silver went on to explain what he likes about Vegas as a home market for the NBA, as well as some concerns that he has.
“My sense is Las Vegas may not be as conducive to the traditional model for a team, where you build it on season-ticket holders as opposed to having to resell 20,000 seats every night. But on the other hand, they have this huge base of tourists, and especially, I know for our league, one of the things we've looked at for Vegas is the number of international tourists that come to that town. And as we get more popular in Asia, in Europe, and in other parts of the world, a lot of people from those markets are constantly traveling into Vegas, so that would be one of the attractions as well.”
Former commissioner David Stern would have never considered Vegas as an NBA city, thanks to worries about gambling and corruption that hit the league as a result of the Tim Donaghy crisis. Silver has a much more macro approach, looking for revenue streams abroad and where they may've been overlooked in the past.
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