MGM Reportedly Pitched NBA, NHL, More on Las Vegas Bubble City Seasons

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 2, 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 14:  An exterior view shows MGM Grand & Hotel & Casino as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 14, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Several employees at MGM Resorts International hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. MGM Resorts International employees who can will start working from home next week. MGM has closed all nightclubs, dayclubs, buffets, spas, gyms and salons at its properties in Las Vegas and on Monday, it will close 150 food and beverage outlets and furloughs and layoffs will begin. The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The sports world is making its slow return after the COVID-19 pandemic halted it in mid-March, with the UFC and NASCAR set to come back on May 9 and May 17, respectively.

Other leagues are still in hiatus, however, although talk of organizations camping out in cities and effectively creating a self-quarantining bubble environment has taken place.

With that in mind, Kevin Draper of the New York Times reported Friday that MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas has proposed a grandiose idea to numerous sports leagues on completing their 2019-20 or 2020 seasons in quarantine on the Las Vegas Strip:

"MGM Resorts International, the company that has ownership stakes in more than a dozen hotel-casinos in Las Vegas, has pitched several sports leagues, including the N.B.A., W.N.B.A., N.H.L. and M.L.S., on an audacious proposal to house their athletes and necessary support staff to hold their seasons on a quarantined block on the Las Vegas Strip, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly."

MGM Resorts International is home to 13 Vegas resorts, per its website.

The NBA might be the toughest sell, with Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, appearing to pique the Association's interest, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

"For now, the NBA is still sorting out possible venues. The MGM Grand has been one of several suitors pitching a plan to host the league -- and perhaps the WNBA, too -- within three adjacent hotels, sources said. Some are proposing pod ideas spread across different regions. Team practice facilities have been discussed. The possibility of Disney World in Orlando, where there are basketball facilities and hotels, has gained momentum."

But Vegas could also be well-equipped to handle games, with Draper providing more information:

"The centerpiece of the proposal to the N.B.A. is the Mandalay Bay resort, which has 4,700 rooms at three connected hotels at the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip: the Mandalay Bay, the Four Seasons and the Delano. They are also connected by an enclosed walkway to the Luxor hotel, which is where MGM service staff such as housekeepers and caterers would live.

"As many as 24 basketball courts could be built at the convention center at Mandalay Bay, which hosts the Aces of the W.N.B.A. Five would be used to telecast games, while the others would be for practice. MGM also proposed getting access to the Thomas & Mack Center, an arena on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, that hosts the N.B.A.’s annual summer league."

The WNBA might be the easiest for cities to host on a daily basis considering that the league contains 12 teams as opposed to 30 in the NBA, 31 in the NHL and the MLS' 26.

The league's 2020 campaign was also slated to start May 15, so it is two weeks away from officially missing any regular-season action. Still, teams will need training camp time to prepare before getting back to the courts.

The NHL is reportedly committed to a four-arena plan where regular-season games without fans will occur, per Larry Brooks of the New York Post. However, it's unclear where those arenas are located and when play will resume.

Major League Soccer does not have a timetable for a return, but some positive word emerged this week as the league announced it will allow individual workouts to take place at outdoor facilities beginning Wednesday.