LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hinted Wednesday at Las Vegas being an expansion target for the league while appearing on ESPN’s Pat McAfee Show.

“We’ve never been anti-Vegas as a league,” Silver said. “We have one more year left on our television deals in the US after this year, and so we want to figure out what our media relationships are going to look like, but then we will turn to expansion. And Vegas is definitely on our list.”

Las Vegas is the 40th-largest media market in the United States, and would be the fourth-smallest to host an NBA team. Despite that, Silver sees big potential in the desert.

“Man, do they punch above their weight,” he said about Las Vegas.

Unlike other major sports that have moved to the valley, the NBA already has a strong foothold in Las Vegas before placing a franchise here. This winter’s inaugural in-season tournament held its semi-finals and finals at T-Mobile Arena, and this summer will mark 20 years since the NBA Summer League began play in the valley.

“It’s two weeks of basketball at a time of year in Vegas when there’s not a lot else going on,” Silver said of the Summer League.

Las Vegas also hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 2007. Silver says the city has come a long way in terms of its NBA-readiness since.

“When we were there years ago for our all-star game, honestly, the city felt a little bit overwhelmed,” he noted.

Currently, the most high-profile arena proposal is that of Oak View Group, which is responsible for the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.

A recent UNLV study estimated that out-of-town visitors for sporting events in Las Vegas generated almost $2 billion in economic activity. An NBA team would bring 41 regular-season games each year, which is the same amount on the Golden Knights’ schedule.

The average NHL team brings in about $4.5 million of revenue per game, according to Forbes. The average NBA figure is $8 million per game, the fifth-highest of any sports league in the world.

Through texts, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman told FOX5 she’s been in contact with Silver this week, and characterized her view of NBA expansion to Las Vegas as a matter of when, not if.


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