Design & Development

Leiweke sheds more light on OVG’s Vegas arena plans

Featured image credit: Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of Oak View Group, has reiterated that the company’s proposed arena resort in Las Vegas will not require any public funding as the cost of the project increases to $10bn (£7.8bn/€9.1bn).

Oak View Group announced details of the project – its biggest to date – in March 2022. The original cost of the wide-ranging retail and entertainment district was slated to be $3bn, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that it now stands at a hefty $10bn.

The 20,000-seat arena that will anchor the district will cost around $1bn to build and, although there is no sports team currently connected to the venue, Las Vegas has been strongly linked to an NBA basketball franchise in the past.

Speaking at the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance 2023 Perspective gathering last week, Leiweke said the plan is for OVG to develop an arena that would be capable of housing an NBA team if the league opts to expand into the city at a later date.

OVG had initially intended to break ground on the project in 2023, with a view to completion in 2026, but work is now set to begin in 2024 as the company seeks to complete the planning permission process by the end of this year.

“On this arena, I’m not asking for any money,” Leiweke said, according to the Review-Journal. “We’re not going before the state, we’re not going before the county.”

Leiweke’s comments were particularly pertinent after the Nevada Senate last week voted in favour of providing up to $380m in public funding for a new stadium in Las Vegas for Major League Baseball team the Oakland Athletics.

Discussing the possibility of the Las Vegas arena housing an NBA team in the future, Leiweke said: “We don’t want to get ahead of (NBA Commissioner) Adam Silver and the NBA. It’s up to the NBA to make a decision on expansion. We’re very careful about making any statements.”

He added: “The point is to remind people and to assure people that when we say we’re going to go do something, we quietly go and get it done. This isn’t about going out and creating the biggest headlines. This is about putting together the best possible management team you could put together and then quietly go do your job.”

The OVG arena would add to Las Vegas’ growing sports venue portfolio. T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, opened in 2016, while the NFL’s Raiders moved into Allegiant Stadium in 2020. The Oakland A’s are hoping to build a 30,000-seat facility in time for the 2027 MLB season, and later this year Las Vegas will host a Formula 1 grand prix for the first time.

The OVG project will also include a casino, hotel and an additional entertainment amphitheatre. The district is being designed by architecture firms Gensler and Populous, with the latter having previously designed T-Mobile Arena.

Marc Badain, former president of the Raiders, has partnered with OVG to lead and consult on the arena project. He will work along with OVG’s president of business development, Francesca Bodie, who will oversee business transactions and operations.