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Las Vegas group "under contract" to buy NBA team if it builds arena

Jul 14, 2010, 1:20 PM EDT

LasVegasSign.jpgLas Vegas might be home to more than the NBA Summer League soon.

International Development Management LLC, has a deal to buy an NBA team if they can get an arena built in the city, Chris Milam, CEO of the group, told the Las Vegas Sun.

“We have an NBA team under contract,” Milam said, declining to name the franchise. But the deal will take effect only if “other pieces of the puzzle fall into place: One of those pieces will be that a building (arena) is approved,” he said.

It’s a chicken and egg scenario — no NBA team will commit to move to Vegas until there is a new arena, but you can’t get money for an arena until a team is committed. If Milam and group really do have a deal with an NBA team, it breaks the cycle. But there are always contingencies built into this kind of deal.

There are a number of NBA teams up for sale right now — Detroit is on the block, Golden State is about to announce a new owner, allegedly so is New Orleans, Indiana has been rumored but just struck a deal with the city — and others that could be had for the right price.

The NBA establishment has been slow to embrace Vegas, because of the gambling and potential distractions to visiting teams. Some owners and execs do not like it. But money talks. If you can build a new state-of-the-art arena that will generate revenue, the other concerns will fade away.

It’s always about the money.

The key to Milam’s plan to build that arena is persuading Clark County to revive its redevelopment area and fund the arena using what is known as tax-increment financing.

It’s clear why this went public — pressuring the county to back their plans. He makes is pitch Aug. 4.

What he wants is a Redevelopment Agency to be reconstituted. The way that financing works is this: The state agrees to keep getting the exact amount of property tax from a piece of land that it is getting now for the coming 20 years (or longer). Then it sells bonds and uses the money to upgrade the property (in this case with a new arena). The increased property taxes from that improved land go to pay off the bonds. It’s a process to pump money into blighted areas that might otherwise struggle to get investments, but it is a system that has been abused in some places.

The property being discussed in Vegas used to be home to a waterslide right in the heart of the city, on the Strip toward downtown from most of the large hotels.

Vegas has grown in recent years and is a large metropolitan area now. It also has big businesses here, plus you can bet casinos would buy suites to entertain high rollers. But there are still questions about how well a town of transports would rally around a major league sports franchise.

  1. Goo - Jul 14, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    I’m looking forward to the 2015 Las Vegas Gamblers having the best home record and worst away record in the league..

  2. mike TV - Jul 14, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    LV is the repo & foreclosure capital of the U.S and 35% of its workforce that makes enough to attend an NBA game works at night.
    Thats a recipe for disaster

  3. moolah954 - Jul 14, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    move the clippers from LA to Las Vegas…makes sense right???

  4. TheRainMaker - Jul 14, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    The Las Vegas Kings are coming soon……

  5. Brian - Jul 14, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    This is the worst idea. Las Vegas is barely surviving. We have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. One of the highest in foreclosures. Who will pay to see this team? The only group that could it, the casinos. You bring a NFL team to Las Vegas it would welcome it with open arms. As long as Goodell runs the NFL that will never happen. NBA would not do well in Las Vegas.

  6. newark65 - Jul 14, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    Why not the Cavaliers? They surely would do better in another city now.

  7. Vegas Baby - Jul 14, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    Get ready for the Vegas Trannies.

  8. Mike - Jul 14, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    Time for the NBA to come back to Vancouver… We have the arena… we have a ready and willing local owner.
    lets do it

  9. david - Jul 14, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    between even the 6000 residents that may buy season tickets . The hotels and all that type of businesses will buuy the tickets and season tickets and sky boxes for there gamblers. 18k person arena with 6k in local sales and many more with the hotels for comping guests. They will make money just fine

  10. david - Jul 14, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    between even the 6000 residents that may buy season tickets . The hotels and all that type of businesses will buuy the tickets and season tickets and sky boxes for there gamblers. 18k person arena with 6k in local sales and many more with the hotels for comping guests. They will make money just fine

  11. NBA in LV - Jul 14, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    Las Vegas NEEDS a pro sports team. Just another reason to make a trip to LV. And at the north end of the Strip would be huge. Move the Clip to LV.

  12. david - Jul 14, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    between even the 6000 residents that may buy season tickets . The hotels and all that type of businesses will buuy the tickets and season tickets and sky boxes for there gamblers. 18k person arena with 6k in local sales and many more with the hotels for comping guests. They will make money just fine

  13. david - Jul 14, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    between even the 6000 residents that may buy season tickets . The hotels and all that type of businesses will buuy the tickets and season tickets and sky boxes for there gamblers. 18k person arena with 6k in local sales and many more with the hotels for comping guests. They will make money just fine

  14. John - Jul 15, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    How about comp’ing me a ticket to a game against the Heat??

  15. ntangbl - Jul 15, 2010 at 1:59 AM

    True, there won’t be MANY true hometown fans that are buying season tix. However, this will generate jobs for the city. With the team and personnel, it will help fill some of those foreclosed homes. As far as those that are struggling to keep their homes…there is a job waiting.
    This can be a major win for LV residents and the city as a whole. There are a lot of families that visit the Vegas area and desire more family-oriented entertainment. Here you go! I think this is a good idea. Politicians, get off your backsides and let’s work this out!

  16. Max - Jul 15, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    @newark65
    If ‘Newark’ is Newark, NJ … then PULEASE don’t think you can talk. Cleveland has it’s problems and the economy is down due to loss of jobs. But the economy in Newark is buoyed by the income from drugs and chop shops. Besides, soon NJ won’t even have an NBA team.
    Another assumption … 65 is your IQ?

  17. banner18 - Jul 15, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    If there’s going to be expansion in the NBA, shouldn’t Seattle and not Las Vegas be first in line? Seattle only has a loyal fan base that had their team stolen from them two years ago and one of the five best cities in America to visit.
    Seattle first, NBA.

  18. dan - Jul 15, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    Would not sell a sports team to Rush but let some gambling mobsters bid on a sports team and it is ok. Makes you wonder where these sports teams are coming from.

  19. bUSTER hYMAN - Jul 15, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    WOW

  20. Lion Woods - Jul 15, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    The Pistons are up for sale. The Pistons lack of moves during the free agent signing period throws up a giant flag and I think it is white with bright red lettering “We Surrender”. I say oh wellsa… it was a good run for the Pistons but I would rather see them in Los Wage$ than in Detroit playing dead. I hope Detroit can throw in the Lions to seal the deal.

  21. Steve J - Jul 15, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    “The casinos will comp tickets.” Yea you know how those casinos are always encouraging people to go spend 3 hours OUT OF THE CASINO AT A BASKETBALL GAME. That’s exactly what the casinos want you to do while your in Vegas.

  22. alf42069pj - Jul 20, 2010 at 1:52 AM

    This will never work.. Vegas doesnt care about sports other than the Rebels and the books.. The all star game was a disaster, the Locos dont draw worth a darn (along with the UFL in general), and the Las Vegas Gladiators moved to Cleveland.. So they are kinda outta chances to prove themselves as a sports market

  23. ball17 - Aug 24, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    Yeah, they will be known as the Nevada Flash. Just wait till they play against the Miami Heat!

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