One of the main questions Las Vegas has to answer to land an NBA expansion team is simple. Who is the team owner?
If the league expands, the NBA is likely going to require a $2.5 billion (or more) expansion fee. That is a significant amount of money that may require multiple groups working together.
“Las Vegas’ Jay Bloom is leading an ownership group that is now reported to have completed circling the funds to purchase the NBA’s Las Vegas expansion franchise under consideration, putting his group as the favorite to come up with the new NBA team in Las Vegas.”
Bloom told Yahoo:
“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’ 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. 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.”
Seattle might have something to say about Vegas being the “most deserving city in the nation”. But Bloom, without directly commenting on his efforts, certainly painted Vegas as a destination for the NBA.
According to Yahoo’s story. Bloom has partnered with motivational speaker Tony Robbins and former UNLV basketball player Marcus Banks.
Bloom has founded multiple companies, including First 100 in Vegas. First 100 buys delinquent liens, which allows them to obtain “a $300,000 home for a few thousand dollars and eventually own the house for a tiny fraction of its value.”
Bloom also founded Pegasus Group Holdings, which owns and operates renewable energy data centers.
With Bloom heading the group, they appear to have the capital to pay for NBA expansion fee.
If Bloom is the primary owner, it would seemingly eliminate two other possible owners. MGM and Bill Foley.
MGM has long been expected to help bring the NBA to Vegas. They even purchased the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA and brought the franchise to Vegas.
After bringing the NHL to Vegas, Bill Foley has an AHL team and will soon have indoor football team. Presumably Foley would be interested in owning the NBA team coming to Vegas as well.
One other detail from Yahoo is that the addition of an NBA team to Vegas will require no public money. Which would most likely mean the NBA would play at an already built arena in Vegas. Obviously an NBA team could play at T-Mobile Arena, but that is owned by AEG, MGM and Bill Foley.
It is not impossible to have an NBA team playing in an arena that is owned by third parties. But that is not likely to be preferred scenario.
Even if Bloom has the money, there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered for Vegas to land an NBA team.