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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Michelob ULTRA Arena - Las Vegas Desert Dogs

Photos by Meg Minard Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Michelob ULTRA Arena 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S

Las Vegas, NV 89109

Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 12,000


New Dogs in LAX

The Las Vegas Desert Dogs are the newest members of the NLL (National Lacrosse League), joining the league in the 2022-2023 season. The team is co-owned by several well-known sports individuals: Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Dustin Johnson, and Joe Tsai.

They play their home matches at the multi-purpose Michelob ULTRA Arena, attached to the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, NV. The arena also hosts the WNBA Las Vegas Aces as well as concerts, college basketball tournaments, and other entertainment.

Box lacrosse is a fabulous, non-stop action indoor sport. It’s one that even leaves fans exhausted after watching a match.

The Desert Dogs organization provides a fun, exciting few hours of sports entertainment. If you’re in town in the winter or spring, be sure to check out a game. They only play nine regular season home games, so plan your trip well.

Food & Beverage 4

The arena offers a decent variety of food, snack, and drink choices. The concourse includes both stationary stands and carts.

A burrito stand offers yummy looking burritos, tacos, and quesadillas ($8 - $14). A burger stand sells fresh burgers ($13.95 - $15.95). Brockwood Farms BBQ provides real pit barbeque pulled pork, beef brisket, and roasted turkey sandwiches with chips and a pickle for $10.50. There’s even a create-your-own ‘you top it’ hot dog stand which offers hot dogs, brats, and seven or so toppings ($11.25 - $11.50).

The arena also offers traditional hot dogs ($7.50), nachos ($7.75), and candy ($5.50). The Loop and Kernel sells artisan pretzels ($8) and gourmet popcorn ($6/$8). Another cart sells lemonade and cotton candy.

Michelob ULTRA Arena is a Pepsi facility with sodas running $6 - $7.50. Multiple brands of beer are offered - both domestic and craft - on tap and in cans. Hop & Olive sells adult beverages. Cocktails cost $17 or $24 for a double and wine is $15. A bomber beer is $17, with a 16 oz selling for $13.

There’s plenty here to keep a lacrosse fan from starving.

Atmosphere 4

Box lacrosse is always a fun, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat game day experience, and a Desert Dogs match is no different. There’s non-stop action on the court and it’s generally a high-scoring game.

A DJ constantly plays music throughout the game and strobe lights circle the crowd. Smoke erupts from the scoreboard and corners of the court after a Desert Dog goal. Fans bang on the glass like in hockey. An emcee riles up the crowd, though he’s not always understandable. Players bang their sticks when the 30-second shot clock is about to run out.

A crisp, clear scoreboard shows the video of the game, score, quarter, time left, saves, SOG, and penalties. It does not provide closed captioning.

Entertainment during the game includes your usual high-pitched screeching female promotions person. Non-game entertainment at the game Stadium Journey visited was a wing-eating contest, T-shirt tosses, a howl cam, and much more. The game day operations staff provides plenty of activities to keep fans entertained during the rare game downtime. Sparkly cheerleaders/dance team with pom poms cheer on the team at breaks, in the aisles, and behind the glass.

The seating area is two levels with most fans entering from the concourse and then walking up or down to their seats. Handrails are provided every few rows with more in the upper level. The arena has 13 – 15 rows of grey cushioned seats on both levels around the entire court. The seats are narrow and there’s absolutely no legroom between the rows. A VIP area (The Dog House) with high-top tables, its own bar, and a DJ is behind one of the goals.

Michelob ULTRA Arena Seating, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Neighborhood 5

You’re in Las Vegas so there’s an abundance of other entertainment activities, restaurants, casinos, and shops.

Within Mandalay Bay, near the arena, a comfortable family-oriented place for a bite to eat is The Citizen. The Border Grill (Mexicana BBQ) has more of a bar-type atmosphere; it’s a hopping place for drinks and appetizers. It closes at 10pm, so if the game runs late, you won’t be able to stop here for an after-game meet-up or drink. Libertine Social Gastropub is also very close. It’s a more upscale place and may not be the best choice for lacrosse fans.

Other entertainment at Mandalay Bay includes visiting the Shark Reef Aquarium or a Michael Jackson One by Cirque du Soleil show. And there’s a wedding chapel in case you want to get married or renew your vows. The casino is next to the Luxor (iconic pyramid-shaped casino) which has many of its own entertainment choices.

Other sports teams to visit while in town include the NHL Vegas Golden Knights, UNLV basketball or baseball, and the Henderson Silver Knights (minor league hockey).

Fans 3

The fan base is certainly into the game, cheering, chanting, and applauding great saves and goals. Desert Dog attire is seen throughout the crowd. The team drew over 7,000 fans for the first game they played at the arena. The other few home games so far have seen 5,000 to 6,000 fans in attendance. It’s still a new team, so time will tell if lacrosse captures more sports fans’ interest in Las Vegas. I suspect it will.

Access 4

The arena is in Mandalay Bay Resort on the south end of the strip between the Luxor and Delano Resorts. It’s across I-15 from Allegiant Stadium. Harry Reid International Airport is in its backyard, three to five miles depending on the route.

Vehicle traffic in Las Vegas is pretty awful, like most large cities. If driving, Mandalay Bay Parking Garage off Frank Sinatra Drive is the closest garage.

Uber and Lyft are convenient transportation choices, and there’s even a designated Uber pickup/drop-off area at Mandalay Bay. The Mandalay Bay Tram Station transports fans to other casinos along the strip.

Once arriving, either via the parking lot, tram, or shared ride, fans must walk a distance through the casino and all its bells and whistles to get to the arena. Once arriving, visitors walk up a long corridor from the box office to the security and into the arena. Clear stadium bags (12” x 6” x 12”) are allowed. Doors open an hour before face-off.

The concourse is shiny and spacious, so there is minimal congestion when walking the perimeter. Ushers are polite but protective of their sections.

There’s a lot of walking involved in getting to the arena. Just be cognizant of that when arriving to watch a match.

Return on Investment 3

Tickets start at $35 at the box office. Online, the prices run $25 - $99 plus order fees. The team has promotions throughout the season, like no ticketing fees when purchasing online or jersey giveaways (check their website for details). Food and beverage prices are the standard high-priced stadium fare. Season ticket members get either free parking or discounted parking ($5/game) based on their membership package. Otherwise, fans pay $18 in the adjacent parking garage.

All of this seems high for lacrosse, but maybe not for lacrosse in Las Vegas. Box lacrosse is a fun, exciting game, one worth visiting when in town or for a new sports experience. We recommend checking it out at least once or twice.


Extras 4

At the game Stadium Journey visited, pregame Indigenous celebrations and half-time performances were presented. Lacrosse originated from native tribes across the US and Canada as early as the 17th century. This celebration was an honor to witness. It included dancing, singing, and a blessing. Nice job.

Michelob ULTRA Arena Indigenous Celebration, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Las Vegas is a fantastic place to people-watch.

A Desert Dogs merchandise stand is just inside the main entrance and sells a decent amount of team merchandise and clothing. The stand is one of those team shops where you can see but you cannot touch.

Jack Hannah scored a sock trick for the Desert Dogs at the game Stadium Journey visited. A sock trick is when a player scores six goals in a game.

Final Thoughts

The Las Vegas area is becoming a sports hotbed with a new NFL football arena, hockey, minor league hockey and baseball, and now lacrosse. Lacrosse is probably the more niche sport of the others in the United States, but it’s one that is growing.

The Desert Dogs is a perfect example of the growth and popularity of the sport. Attending a match is an entertaining and enjoyable evening out!

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