Tim Leiweke's group planning to build 'NBA-ready' arena in Las Vegas

Former MLSE President and CEO Tim Leiweke gestures during a speech. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Former Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiweke says his Oak View Group will be building a 20,000-seat "NBA-ready" arena in Las Vegas.

Leiweke told CNBC his group has acquired 25 acres of land and will build an arena, hotel, casino and theatre.

"There is no certainty or no guarantees the NBA is ever coming to Vegas, but should they come, we certainly will be NBA-ready and make sure we hit all of their standards," Leiweke said.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in October that if the league does decide to expand, Las Vegas would be on the list.

The NBA already has deep ties to Las Vegas, hosting its Summer League in the Nevada city.

With leagues and teams now embracing gambling and Las Vegas having grown considerably, the city has become a hot spot for sports.

The NHL was the first major men's league to put a team in Vegas, in 2017, and the NFL relocated the Raiders from Oakland to the city in 2020.

Leiweke's group most recently redeveloped Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena for the NHL's expansion Kracken.

Leiweke was president of MLSE from 2013 to 2015 and was responsible for the hirings of top executives Masai Ujiri of the Raptors, Brendan Shanahan of the Maple Leafs and Tim Bezbatchanko of Toronto FC.

The Raptors and Toronto FC both won titles under Ujiri and Bezbatchanko after Leiweke had departed.

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