US Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) franchise the San Antonio Stars is to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada, where it will be based at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the city’s famous Strip.

MGM Resorts International, an entertainment and hospitality firm that runs a number of major facilities in Las Vegas and around the world, will own and operate the team, which will begin playing in the Nevada city from the 2018 season.

The Suns’ new Mandalay Bay home opened in 1999 and regularly hosts sporting and non-sporting events. In recent years, the 12,000-seat venue has staged a number of pre-season games between NBA basketball teams the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Upon its relocation to the city, the San Antonio Stars will be renamed as the Las Vegas Stars.

Lilian Tomovich, chief experience and marketing officer at MGM Resorts International, said: “We are delighted to welcome the WNBA as our newest partner in professional sports.  We appreciate, now more than ever, the league’s confidence in Las Vegas and believe the team will be a tremendous addition to the city.”

WNBA president Lisa Borders has also declared her support for the move: “We are thrilled to bring the first major professional basketball team to Las Vegas.

“This city and MGM Resorts are synonymous with world-class entertainment.  With its culture of diversity and inclusion, MGM Resorts is an ideal fit for the WNBA.”

The Stars began life in 1997 as the Utah Starzz, before being renamed as the San Antonio Silver stars in 2003 and then the San Antonio Stars in 2014.

The team is yet to win the WNBA championship, with its only major achievement coming when it won Western Conference in the 2008, after which it went on to lose in Conference Finals stage of the Playoffs to the Sacramento Monarchs.