NBA expansion into the Las Vegas market has been a hot topic of discussion for some time. Those rumors should be heating up even further after Yahoo Sports reported that billionaire Las Vegan Jay Bloom is putting together a potential ownership group in advance of such an expansion.
Be it ultimately our group or someone else, Las Vegas is clearly the most deserving city in the nation for an NBA expansion franchise team.Las Vegas billionaire Jay Bloom
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has commented recently about the possibility of the league expanding and the immediate speculation was that Seattle and Las Vegas were the two frontrunners.
Bloom is a Las Vegas investor who operated The Mob Experience museum in Las Vegas and walking tours at the Tropicana from 2011-2013. His NBA expansion ownership group will reportedly include former NBA and UNLV player Marcus Banks III and motivational speaker Tony Robbins.
“While it is most certainly too preliminary to comment on our group’s efforts, Bill Foley’s extraordinary success with the Vegas Golden Knights, together with Mark Davis’s Las Vegas Raiders’ incredibly warm reception by the community and his exceptional world-class facilities, and further, the addition of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, clearly demonstrate that Las Vegas is already a major player in the world of professional sports,” Bloom told Yahoo Sports. “Be it ultimately our group or someone else, Las Vegas is clearly the most deserving city in the nation for an NBA expansion franchise team.”
NBA expansion a financial must?
One of the main drivers of a possible NBA expansion is that a franchise fee could help owners recoup some of their losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which much of a 2020 season was lost and the rest played with no spectators.
While ESPN’s Brian Winhorst earlier reported a possible $2.5 billion price tag for each of two teams, Silver said in a Sportico NBA evaluations event that the $2.5 billion fee may be “very low in terms of value at which we would expand.” Silver also wasn’t ready to commit to any such time frame for NBA expansion.
Sportico was also skeptical of the price but in the other direction. They wrote that Joe Tsai paid $2.35 billion for the Brooklyn Nets and that Glen Taylor won’t get anywhere near that much when he sells the Minnesota Timberwolves. it wrote that the average NBA team was worth less than $2.5 billion.
Las Vegas has a world-class facility already available to host an NBA expansion team in the T-Mobile Arena, but the new ownership group would have to share the facility with the very popular Golden Knights of the National Hockey League and wouldn’t have ownership in the facility either.
Also, Las Vegas is a relatively small market that already includes the Golden Knights, the NFL’s Raiders, and the WNBA’s Aces, along with some other professional sports teams. But the NBA, which already had a presence in Las Vegas with its Summer League, could certainly carve out a strong niche in the market.
On top of all that, ownership of the Oakland A’s recently took a tour of the Las Vegas area exploring a possible move of its Major League Baseball franchise.