- Meg Minard
Michelob Ultra Arena – Las Vegas Aces
Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Michelob Ultra Arena 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89109
Las Vegas Aces website Michelob Ultra Arena website
Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 12,000
The Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA play their home games at the perfectly-sized Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The team has history outside of Las Vegas playing in Salt Lake City, UT and San Antonio, TX before moving to Las Vegas in 2018.
The Mandalay Bay Events Center is an outstanding venue in which to watch a WNBA team. It offers plenty of close seating at affordable prices, and a fantastic game day experience for Aces games. It hosted the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game and it hosts other forms of entertainment throughout the year.
Note: The Mandalay Bay Events Center's name changed to Michelob Ultra Arena in 2021.
Food & Beverage 3
Food and beverage prices in the Event Center seem a little high to me. For drinks, a bottle of water is $5. Cocktails range from $15 – $22, a glass of wine is $12, beer runs $10 – $14 with a tall boy at $15. I don’t know what this is (drink-wise) but a ‘Mason jar’ is priced at $24.
Carts and concessions along the concourse offer walking tacos ($8.50), Aces Dogs w/chips ($9.50 – $10), Real Pit BBQ (pork, beef, turkey at $10.50), and cheese steak ($13). Sno Cones, Dippin’ Dots, Five Spot Coffee, Dole Soft Serve and mini-donuts also grace the concourse.
The calorie count of items is provided at the main concession stands.
Though the concourse is wide, concession lines are long.
Seating is U-shaped around the court. A floor VIP section and the DJ are at the open end. Two levels of seating are in place; the upper level goes up to row K. Hand rails are available. No walkway is between the levels, you go up to the 200 level seats or down to the 100 level seats. Pretty easy. Seats in the arena are cushioned but quite narrow with very little leg room and are pleasurably close to the action on the court.
The video scoreboard hangs center court and is a perfect size for the arena. It provides the game, replays, individual player’s stats, the time left in quarter, fouls and most anything for those keeping score.
The temperature in the arena is comfortable and for those who get chilly, only a long sleeve shirt is needed.
Nevada laws still allow cigarette smoking in casinos including the Mandalay Bay Casino (but not the arena) so fans may get choked up traversing the casino before getting to the basketball event.
The closest neighborhood is the casino with its 5+ restaurants (some of which appear ‘snooty’ if you’re not a part of the group or association having an event there) and the mall right next door with its own variety of food and beverage choices including Slice of Vegas, Fat Tuesday, and Hussong’s Cantina (Mexican). I do not recommend Libertine Social as they seem the most unwilling to accept a casual visitor for a drink.
The casino restaurants are nice but they are on the expensive side. Instead visit the Slice of Vegas in the mall. They have excellent beer and decent pizza. They offer a free slice of cheese pie (the kind you fold and not eat with a fork and knife – the way it should be) when your Aces ticket is shown. And, they have food and drink deals every weekend.
Next door to the Mandalay Bay is the Luxor Casino and Resort and after that is Excalibur with the Tropicana across the street from that. All of these casinos have rooms if spending a night or two.
The Mandalay Bay has the Shark Reef Aquarium, the Luxor has the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Excalibur has a medieval dinner theater and the Tropicana has a comedy club. So, there’s plenty to do within walking distance in addition to gambling in a smoky casino.
For other sports to watch in the area during the WNBA season, check out the new Las Vegas Ballpark (opened in 2019), the Las Vegas Lights (USL), and depending on how far in the post season the Aces go, you may just be able to catch a Vegas Golden Knights (NHL) pre-season game.
A good mix of fans attends Aces games: families, couples, kids, and groups. Fans call out “Night” during the appropriate spot in the National Anthem. I was told this is done at all Las Vegas sports venues since the Golden Knights hockey took residence in Las Vegas.
Fans do a good job of yelling at the refs for unwarranted fouls and they hang on to every dribble, pass, and shot, and roar with excitement when the Aces make a basket or good play.
In the Aces’ first season in 2018 an average attendance of about 5,300 fans came through the doors. Even though the Event Center holds 12,000, a large block of seats (behind one entire goal) is not used for Aces games, thus making the arena feel packed.
Getting to the Mandalay Bay Events Center is relatively easy. It is right off I-15. The west parking lot seems to be the closest to the Event Center. Las Vegas Monorail MGM Grand Station is about a mile walk. McCarran International Airport is 2 ½ miles from the venue.
Many hotels offer shuttles to and from the Mandalay Bay Resort, so take advantage of those if not staying right downtown.
The gates don’t open up at 6pm (as was told to me by the ticket agent) but they do open at 6:30pm through massive amounts of security, though it wasn’t unpleasant. Just expect a long line if arriving early.
The concourse can get a bit congested especially around the food concessions and at half time.
Restrooms are adequate and are kept exceptionally clean throughout the game.
Return on Investment 3
Ticket prices run $24 (center court, second level, high row) with lower rows going for $42. End seating is a bit lower. Add a big $5 service fee even if purchased at the box office to those prices. Check their schedule for any giveaways throughout the season.
Take the monorail or get a shuttle from your hotel to reduce parking fees.
Concession prices are high for a sports venue.
Nonetheless, an Aces game is well worth attending and spending your sports entertainment dollars.
The ushers in the arena are so extremely nice and helpful.
Banners and signs on column posts and other areas are displayed throughout the Mandalay Bay Casino.
Remember to go to Slice of Vegas pre or post game!
When attending a Las Vegas Aces game, you’ll see the effort all involved contribute: the players, the staff, the security, the coaches and mostly, the fans. Unfortunately, WNBA is not getting the recognition it should and that’s a shame. It’s a great sport to watch without the shenanigans of the NBA.