- Stars will play home matches from the Mandalay Bay Events Center next year
- Bill Laimbeer will be the team’s coach and president of basketball operations
Global hospitality and entertainment company MGM Resorts has been revealed as the buyer of WNBA side, San Antonio Stars.
The move will see the side become the second professional sports team in the famous casino city as they move to their new home at Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas for the start of the 2018 season.
And while MGM will not be the first casino-related business to own a WNBA team – Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun has one too – the decision appears to be a welcome one for the league itself.
WNBA President, Lisa Borders is reported by the Las Vegas Review Journal as saying: “Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world… there is tremendous synergy between who we are and what the Las Vegas market offers, particularly in the hands of the MGM team. This is a match made in heaven between the MGM and the WNBA.”
MGM Resorts Chief Experience and Marketing Officer, Lilian Tomovich reportedly echoed the positive comments, saying in a statement that “We appreciate, now more than ever, the league’s confidence in Las Vegas and believe the team will be a tremendous addition to the city.”
A new home
The Stars will reportedly begin next season’s campaign – allegedly set to start in May – playing their home matches at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre which Tomovich suggests as a good fit for the team.
Previously, The Grand Garden Arena and the T-Mobile Arena were muted as potential new homes, with both losing out to Mandalay Bay – a 12,000 seat state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex.
MGM has announced that respected New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer will be the team’s coach and president of basketball operations. To date, the side has only tasted success once after taking the Western conference title in 2008 only to go on and lose finals to Detroit Shock. Laimbeer’s experience as a former NBA player and knowledge and understanding of the game is well known.
WNBA to NBA
There is suggestion by some in the industry that MGM’s move could be a step in the right direction for the city of Las Vegas to house its own NBA team sometime in the future.
Almost exactly a year ago, MGM’s CEO reportedly told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an interview that he was actively pursuing an NBA team he could move to Las Vegas.
After various guises since its formation, the Stars franchise is now to settle in a new home, one that could very well put Las Vegas firmly on the map for its basketball prowess.
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