- Lloyd Brown
T-Mobile Arena – Vegas Golden Knights
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
T-Mobile Arena 3780 S Las Vegas Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89158
Year Opened: 2016
The Home of Lady Luck and Pucks
The NHL’s shiniest new franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, also have the shiniest new ice palace to perform in for their loyal subjects. T-Mobile Arena is located at the southern end of the Vegas Strip and opened in April 2016. The arena was built even before the franchise was awarded in June of that year. Like most entertainment venues in Sin City, it will host a wide variety of events, ranging from sports, to concerts, beauty pageants and awards shows. The building has a capacity of 17,500 for ice hockey, 18,000 for basketball, and 20,000 for concerts, boxing and MMA matches and conventions.
The arena was created by two giants in the entertainment industry, MGM Resorts International and AEG, who teamed up with noted sports architectural firm Populous to design a venue that works well both as a sports facility and an entertainment venue. Many NHL traditionalists questioned the selection of Las Vegas as an expansion location, as they hoped Quebec City would receive the nod. Others felt that a top tier professional sports team would not locate in a city known for gambling (the Golden Knights are the first to do so, with the Oakland Raiders relocating in 2020).
To answer its critics, Las Vegas pointed out that the city has had a relationship with the NHL since 1991. It has hosted pre-season games between the LA Kings and NY Rangers as well as the Kings and Colorado Avalanche. The NHL Awards have been held in Las Vegas since 2009. The city showed that there was sufficient support for a successful franchise by gaining commitments for 13,200 season tickets before the franchise was even awarded. They also pointed out that Las Vegas has much more of an entertainment mecca than a gambling mecca in recent years. The numbers of hotel rooms available and excellent airline connections were also cited in the selection of the city.
Food & Beverage 3
T-Mobile Arena serves a wide variety of quality foods, but charges a premium price for the simplest items
When people think of Las Vegas, they think of glitz and glamour – something out of the ordinary. The food and beverage selections at T-Mobile Arena will not disappoint that expectation. The concession offerings go by the names of eNVy Pizza, Silver SnoQue, BruHaus, the Jack Daniels Lounge, the Shake Shack, Neon Eats and a Hollywood favorite, Pink’s Hot Dogs.
The food quality is excellent, but the prices charged by the concession outlets are priced at private club levels. A sampling of some of the basic food prices includes hot dogs ($7), BBQ sandwiches ($16), and popcorn ($8). Beverage selections include 20-ounce domestic beers ($13), wine ($13), Coca-Cola sodas ($4), bottled water ($5), and tea ($4).
A plus to the design of the arena is that all concessions are located on open concourses so that you will not miss any of the action on the ice while grabbing your food or drink of choice.
When you are building a new venue in Las Vegas, a simple utilitarian building will just not do. The ownership’s expertise in entertainment, along with Populous’ expertise in venue design has created a great facility for hockey fans in Las Vegas. The exterior of the building reflects the two sides of Las Vegas. The front side faces the Strip and it offers the neon, the massive message boards, numerous picture windows offering dramatic views of the Strip and very active gathering area known as The Park. The back or west side of the building is dramatically different. It has very few windows, and utilizes various metallic bands in different hues to mimic the colors of the desert and mountains just outside of Las Vegas.
The interior includes hockey seating for 18,000, 44 luxury boxes, and eight event level suites. In addition there are 24 private loge boxes. The color scheme inside of the seating bowl is made up of grays, blacks, and gold. This mimics the colors of the Golden Knights uniforms.
The seating bowl is very steep, providing great views of the action, but also making it difficult to navigate if you are returning from the concession area with an armload of food. The seats are wider than most arenas and the legroom is excellent. Drink holders are found on seats throughout the arena, proving a better fan experience.
The pregame ceremonies play off the legend of the Sword in the Stone. A black-caped evil figure takes the ice waving the banner of the opponent and is appropriately booed. Suddenly out of nowhere the Golden Knight appears from nowhere, pulls the sword out of the stone at center ice and does away with the visitor as the crowd cheers wildly.
One other aspect that works very well with the Golden Knights theme is the team store, known as the Armory. You truly feel that you are preparing for battle as it utilizes dark woods, multiple mannequins in armor and hockey sticks lining the walls like lances being readied for a joust. The store offers merchandise available at any team store, but its design is more interesting.
When we talk about “neighborhood” in the city of Las Vegas, it is going to be a neighborhood unlike any other. T-Mobile Area is next door to a replica of New York City (New York-New York) and Monte Carlo (Monte Carlo Casino). Other neighbors mimic Paris, Venice, Rome and yes, a medieval palace (The Excalibur). You are only blocks away from some of the fanciest hotels, top entertainment venues, casinos, and best restaurants in the country. All this available to you on a 24 hour basis in the “city that never sleeps.”
T-Mobile Arena is encircled by a $100 million pedestrian shopping area known as The Park, which serves as a gateway to the venue. Among the restaurants to choose from in The Park are Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches, California Pizza Kitchen, Sake Roh, Beerhaus, and Sundaes at The Park. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are Party in the Park Days when free live music is performed; wine is $5 as are $5 shots. On the outside of The Park is Bliss Dance, a 40 foot dancing woman that lights up at night or a musical performance at The Park Theater.
On a broader scale, the Monte Carlo Casino and the New York-New York complex form the outer border of the neighborhood. Entertainment and dining within the Monte Carlo includes the Park Theater and the Double Barrel Roadhouse. New York-New York offers Tom’s Urban restaurant and the Las Vegas location for the Coyote Ugly Bar. Las Vegas has so much to offer that it is a good idea to check out a more comprehensive list through the tourism office at www.lasvegas.com.
Even though the Golden Knights are an expansion team, they have quickly developed a very loyal fan base.
Many people felt that Las Vegas was not a “hockey town,” and the team would not draw well. In reality, the locals have been waiting for years for a professional sports franchise and have quickly meshed with the Golden Knights. The players are known by their nicknames and special cheers have been developed for the various players.
It is also a very knowledgeable fan base, as Las Vegas is a retirement haven, with many residents migrating to the warm climate from many of hockey’s traditional cold weather cities. Las Vegas’ status as a tourism and convention magnet also pulls in hockey fans from throughout the country. Las Vegas has quickly shown that its fans are just as passionate as those found in the northern cities of the league.
The Golden Knights compete in the Western Conference and Pacific Division of the NHL. Even at this early stage of their existence, the team has begun developing rivalries with the LA Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes due to their close geographic proximity.
There is any number of ways to reach T-Mobile Arena for a game. Your first access point in reaching Las Vegas is through the airport. Fortunately, McCarran International Airport is located near the south end of Las Vegas, only 3 miles from the arena and area lodging. Almost every air carrier has flights in and out of Vegas which tends to keep the airfares down due to competition.
In most cases you will not need a car in Las Vegas, as the Strip is within a concise area and many hotels offer complimentary shuttles to T-Mobile Arena. The Strip is also very walkable as the sidewalks are above street level and there are numerous bridges spanning the traffic heavy South Las Vegas Boulevard. Other options include the car service Uber, which offers $20 off a fare for first time users (Must mention Code: TMOBILEARENA to receive a discount.)
If you do decide to take your car, parking at both the New York-New York Casino and the Monte Carlo Casino is $18 on game nights (must purchase parking ticket in advance through www.parkmobile.com).
Once at the arena, you will find that the security area and entry portals are in sufficient numbers that you will not experience a delay. Inside, you will find wide concourses that are easy to navigate and that are open to the playing area, so you will not miss any of the action. Escalators will take you to each of the four levels of the seating bowl.
Return on Investment 3
The official ticket prices for a Vegas Golden Knights game range from $55-$265. However the team has sold out a number of games in its inaugural season, so expect to look on the secondary ticket market for substantially higher prices. As always, we suggest using our partner, Ticket Monster for your ticket needs. The concession prices within the arena tend to be much pricier than items purchased away from the arena.
Your transportation costs should be minimal. Lodging prices vary greatly with hotels on the Strip being the most expensive. Just a few blocks east of the strip are a number of smaller national chains with accommodations at nearly half the price. Add ons, such as attending shows and concerts by celebrities can substantially raise your budget.
Your return on investment (including whether you include gambling) is truly up to you. Remember, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but your credit card bill will follow you home!
T-Mobile Arena has already hosted many major sports events other than hockey in its first year. These include boxing and MMA championships, the PBR World Finals Rodeo, and the 2017 Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament.
Las Vegas icon Wayne Newton performed at the grand opening of the arena. Other entertainment acts that have performed or are scheduled to perform at T-Mobile include Jay-Z, Guns N’ Roses, Bruno Mars, George Strait, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, New Kids on the Block, and Faith Hill. The Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor fight also took place in the arena.
There a number of perks offered to T-Mobile account holders at the arena. These perks include 1) a fast track venue entrance 2) alerting on pre-sales of tickets and ability to upgrade tickets, and 3) complimentary transportation from area hotels.
Conserving precious natural resources (water, electricity) is very important in isolated desert communities. T-Mobile Arena is one of the few major athletic venues in the country to achieve Green Level LEED certification.
The Vegas Golden Knights have “broken the ice” as the first professional sports team to set up shop in Las Vegas. Early indications are that the team will prove the criticism that Vegas is not a “hockey town” wrong. The city has sold out several games in its inaugural season, and the team’s performance on the ice is far above what is expected of an expansion team.