LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Las Vegas is set to build a 20,000-seat arena intended to host a future NBA team, which could mean good news in efforts to bring the Supersonics back to Seattle.
Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke announced Wednesday that his group has purchased 25 acres of land in Las Vegas to build a $3 billion sports and entertainment district. With this announcement, he made it clear that if the NBA ever wanted to have a franchise in Las Vegas, the new venue could serve as its home. Construction will begin next year and should be finished in 2026.
"The arena will be world-class," Tim Leiweke said in an interview on CNBC. "We’re prepared to spend about a billion dollars on building the new arena. It will be for music, it’ll be for sports, it’ll be for cultural activities, and should the NBA decide to come – and by the way there’s no certainty or no guarantees that the NBA is ever coming to Vegas, but should they come – we will be NBA-ready and make sure that we hit all of their standards."
Oak View Group, the company building the arena in Las Vegas, is the same company that built Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center – the new home for the NHL's Seattle Kraken, and the WNBA's Seattle Storm. In an interview last year with Sports Radio 950 KJR, Tim Leiweke said Oak View Group and the City of Seattle have been in contact with the NBA about their desire to bring basketball back to town at Climate Pledge Arena.
Leiweke has said they will follow the direction of NBA commissioner Adam Silver:
"We are going to follow the process that the NBA owners and Adam lay out, but we're going to get there. We're going to get there. I'm very confident that this will end well for everyone in Seattle and us."
"When the day comes, we're going to begin the process. I am 100 percent certain we're going to get the Sonics back, and they will be playing within the timeline the league outlines at Climate Pledge Arena."
Earlier this month, NBA commentator, podcaster and Ringer founder Bill Simmons said on a podcast episode with Ryen Russillo that he believes the NBA is looking to expand to Las Vegas and Seattle.
Though not a reporter, Simmons is well-connected in the NBA. He used to work for ESPN and was a part of their NBA Countdown coverage around the NBA, NBA Draft and NBA Finals for many years.
Seattle has been without an NBA team since 2008 when the Sonics were moved to Oklahoma City and rebranded as the Thunder.
This is a developing story.
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