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Official Review by Mike Talerico, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
T-Mobile Arena is Las Vegas, Nevada’s new hot attraction located at 3780 S Las Vegas Boulevard on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. It was opened in April 2016 and is the future home of the NHL’s new expansion team the Las Vegas Knights.
T- Mobile Arena was built to hold a variety of crowd sizes for a range of entertainment possibilities. With its smallest design of end staged concerts, holding roughly 15,000, to a hockey set up for 17,500, and the max capacity crowd of 20,000 spectators, and it can be tailored to meet the needs of many audiences.
The Pac-12 Conference moved its Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament to Las Vegas in 2013. The first four years the tournament was hosted at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and in 2017 it moved to T-Mobile Arena.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is a small range of concession stands, with basic stands offering popcorn, hot dogs, pretzels, sodas, and beer. Hot dogs ($5), bottles of water ($4), a domestic beer ($12), and imports ($14) can be found at most stands. There are a few alternatives to your traditional sporting concessions with outside vendors like Ferraro's Pizza Forte, Pink's Hot Dogs, Shake Shack, and Chronic Tacos.
While the variety of concession stands is minimal, the number of concession stands per capacity is well thought out. The two times one would assume to have long lines and packed concession stands would be before games and at halftime, but with the number of external beverage carts, coupled with concession stands almost every 100 feet makes the lines minimal at T-Mobile Arena.
Las Vegas is a fantastic choice for a college basketball, and T-Mobile Arena is less than five minutes walking distance to the sports books, slot machines, roulette, and card tables of two of Las Vegas' staple casinos. The atmosphere for the Pac-12 Conference Tournament is electric. With a better venue, and higher capacity crowd, than the MGM Garden Arena, fans from teams from all over the conference grace the seats.
During the game there is more of an emphasis on promoting MGM Resorts International, an equal partner owner of the property. Commercials on the screen during timeouts, announcements and advertisements are about attractions and shows at the MGM properties. One time per game they show notable alumni of the two teams playing.
There is so much to see at T-Mobile Arena, and if there was ever an attempt to bring Vegas to a sporting/concert venue, this is it. The Hyde Lounge looks like it should be in one of the accompanying Las Vegas Strip Casinos, instead of in an event arena.
T-Mobile Arena is located on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, behind the New York-New York Hotel & Casino and across from Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino.
It would be hard to imagine a better location for a conference tournament than the Las Vegas Strip.
Fans from all of the Pac-12 Conference schools show up for the tournament in Las Vegas, but the three that seem to travel the best are UCLA, Oregon, and Arizona. The Wildcat supporters make up an overwhelmingly vast majority of fans represented. In 2017, this was likely due to the combination of the close proximity to Tucson and it being spring break for the school.
With 87,000+ visitors to the venue over the four day event, the fans bring their exuberance and rowdiness from the strip to the arena. Alumni, current students, and general fans grace the venue for an action packed extended weekend event that surely doesn't disappoint.
Access is a little tight, with there being only one entrance on the main level in the north end of the stadium. The main lobby filters around with escalators, elevators, and stairs going up to the event level, and upper levels. The VIP and suite levels have their own specific access.
They do not open the venue until 30 minutes before the first game, even though the tickets indicate that gates would open an hour before the game.
If one needed to go back downstairs before the event started, they would have to wait for the elevators since the two story escalators only go up.
There are two large parking structures adjacent to the arena with access from the I-15 and Tropicana Ave, which allows for a great parking experience both when getting a spot, and leaving the venue after the games. However, it can be difficult with the only exit out to Frank Sinatra Drive. With its direct location to the Las Vegas Strip it opens up right to Las Vegas Blvd, its local is purely commercial.
An all access pass for four days includes four games in the first round, four games in the quarterfinal round, the two semi-final games, and the championship game. If an individual purchased these tickets through any of the Pac-12 universities it cost $375, but $475 if purchased through the T- Mobile Arena box office.
T-Mobile Arena is an excellent new facility in Las Vegas, and should make for a great home of the NHL expansion Las Vegas Knights. One extra point for its location on the strip.
Pac-12 fans turn out to support their team, and seeing the multitude of fan colors in the concourse and the stands really add to the overall event experience. The quarterfinal day may be the best date to attend if you can only be there for one of the four days.
The two largest issues with T-Mobile Arena is the layout of the bowl and lack of cup holders. If you are going to get upper level seats, be prepared to hold your drinks, since there aren't any cup holders.
You may also want to bring binoculars with you if you're sitting up top. The angle and distance of the lower bowl makes one feel like they could touch the rafters and far enough for the need of visual assistance, luckily the 21x36 foot center screen allows for fans to get a better look from up top.
The Pac-12 made a great decision when they chose to relocate the conference championship game to T-Mobile Arena, and this location will serve the conference, teams, and fans for years to come.
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