Developer Chris Milam recently bought the Triple-A Las Vegas 51's and is now saying that he intends to move them to a three-arena development across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Mandalay Bay. He has said he'd like to put a MLS team in one of those stadiums.

Las Vegas Stadium Deal Dies An Early Death

Land needed for three-stadium development now in limbo

  • Live
2 Total Updates since May 16, 2011
  • Updates 2
  • All Updates 2

Odds Of Major League Soccer Expanding To Las Vegas Just Got Longer

The odds of MLS putting team No. 20 in Las Vegas were always a bit long, but any chance of Sin City getting the next expansion team looks doomed after the stadium deal that would have made a move possible appears dead. The developer had been seeking a special sales tax that would have helped fund the nearly $2 billion, three-stadium project, but the Nevada legislature failed to approve it. 

Christopher Milam, the developer who was behind the deal, was hoping to purchase a 63-acre lot across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Mandalay Bay. He was then planning to build three stadiums that would have an outdoor facility that could house a MLS team, a baseball stadium and an indoor arena. Milam had already agreed to buy the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, something that he now seems to be having second thoughts about, according to comments he made to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

"I can't pay what I agreed to pay for the 51s and leave them at Cashman Field," Milam said.


Don Garber Tells Las Vegas That MLS Is Listening About Expansion

When you're an organization that has been using expansion fees as a significant part of your financial model -- and even MLS's most ardent supporters have to admit that -- it should come as little surprise that whenever a city expresses interest, the league make some attempt to encourage that interest. So, it should come as little surprise that MLS Commissioner Don Garber apparently reached out to Las Vegas last week after developer Chris Milam unveiled plans for a sports complex that would potentially include a MLS stadium.

How seriously MLS is considering Las Vegas is very much another issue. Garber has reportedly made similar contacts with potential ownership groups in Minnesota and Orlando, as well as having very well documented discussions with at least two groups in New York City. There's really no reason to think that if someone in Sioux City, Iowa offered to build a $400 million stadium and plunk down $50 million for the expansion fee that Garber wouldn't be calling them as well.

As Garber very well knows, the more interest there is in becoming MLS team No. 20, the more the league can charge for expansion fees. The Montreal Impact reportedly paid somewhere between $40-$50 million in 2010 to become team No. 19. Some rumors have suggested MLS is seeking as much as $100 million for team No. 20, which is expected to be the final expansion team for several years.

It's also possible that an existing team could move to Las Vegas. In 2008, a group was reportedly looking into buying the Columbus Crew and moving them to Las Vegas, but that eventually fell through when the stock market crashed. The Crew are probably still the best candidate for relocation, as they are struggling mightily at the gate and have already started making noise about wanting to upgrade their now out-dated soccer-specific stadium. 

If MLS could work in Las Vegas, it would probably be in a situation like this. Milam recently purchased the Triple-A Las Vegas 51's and has already said he plans to build a three-stadium complex in which to house them. Milam is trying get the complex built across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Mandalay Bay, which would make it very accessible to both tourists and locals alike. Milam is hoping to put a NBA team in the third venue.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.