AEG and MGM Resorts International Plan 20,000-Seat Arena in Vegas

AEG and MGM Resorts International are taking steps to build a privately funded, 20,000-seat indoor arena in Las Vegas on land located west of the Las Vegas Strip, the companies announced Friday.

The arena would host boxing, concerts and other sporting and entertainment events. Situated between New York-New York and Monte Carlo -- two MGM Resorts casino-hotel properties -- the building would serve as the centerpiece of a revitalization of the area that extends from Las Vegas Boulevard to Frank Sinatra Drive. The project also would involve retail shops and dining destinations.

“Our extensive sports and music assets, together with our global network of venues, including arenas in key West Coast markets such as Seattle, Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego, will allow us to maximize booking and operations opportunities,” AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke said in a statement.

Added MGM Resorts chairman and CEO Jim Murren: “This new facility would be an extension of our entertainment legacy and continue our leadership position in the worlds of boxing, sports, concerts and other events that drive significant visitation and revenue to Las Vegas. AEG’s dominant position in arena development, programming and management makes it an ideal partner for this venture.”

The arena is anticipated to be financed with equity contributions from each of the partners as well as private third-party financing. Murren said the project “is already driving strong interest from potential investors.”

The companies said design and planning is “well under way,” and the partners were to begin seeking appropriate approvals immediately.

Shares of publicly traded MGM Resorts were down about 0.6 percent in trading Friday.

MGM Resorts also operates the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage in Las Vegas. The arena would add to AEG’s portfolio of high-profile properties that includes Staples Center in Los Angeles, The O2 in London and buildings in Berlin, Shanghai, Sydney and Stockholm.

AEG’s concert division AEG Live books acts at The Joint, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino venue in Las Vegas, and The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

Meanwhile, there’s another sports/entertainment project in the works in Las Vegas -- the $800 million to $900 million UNLV Now stadium endeavor. MGM Resorts had been involved in that project until last month, when it withdrew a pledge to invest $20 million.

Don Snyder, the project leader, told the Las Vegas Sun on Friday that the “two proposals are pretty much apples and oranges,” with UNLV Now designed for events that would draw as many as 60,000 people.

L.A. real estate billionaire Ed Roski is UNLV Now’s private developer partner, with his Majestic Realty pledging to front 40 percent of the cost.

Roski also is behind the plan to build a football stadium for an NFL team in the Los Angeles suburb of City of Industry, while AEG is leading the competing Farmers Field stadium project in downtown L.A.

The entire Anschutz Entertainment Group -- a subsidiary of AEG that includes several Los Angeles-based assets, like the Staples Center, the Kings hockey team and part of the Lakers basketball team -- is on the sales block, with bids expected to range from $5 billion to $8 billion.