Big Arena – Big Names Opening Soon!

The Las Vegas entertainment scene is about to change forever with the opening of the T-Mobile Arena on April 6!!  Finally, Las Vegas will step into the modern era and be able to host the big touring shows and events that have by-passed us for the last decade.  The new $375 million privately financed, 20,000 seat arena will have all the modern amenities for both the fans and the performers.

Up until now, the big names, big shows would either bypass Las Vegas or have to scale back the productions.  That just never felt right for a town that bills itself as the entertainment capital of the world!!  The largest indoor arena is Thomas and Mack on the UNLV campus holding on average around 15,000 people and for outdoor, we have Sam Boyd Stadium, 9 miles off the Strip.

When MGM and AEG broke ground for it behind New York-New York, they called it The Las Vegas Arena.  In January, T-Mobile bought the naming rights and now its called T-Mobile Area and sits next to Toshiba Plaza and that is part of  MGM’s “Park”.  Got all that??

T Mobile Arena opens soon in Las Vegas

Style and Luxury will fill the place

The big question always was “Who Gets To break the Seal?”  Who gets to play in the big bowl first?  Many thought it would be a UFC fight since they were making the most noise about wanting to be there.  But instead, it will be a Las Vegas night with local home-town rock gods, The Killers and of course, you can’t have a Las Vegas event this big without inviting Mr Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton!

After that, it’s pretty much a star-studded few months with the biggest names rolling in and making waves.  Several of them coming back multiple times!  More names and events seem to be added almost weekly. Billy Joel, Janet Jackson, George Strait, etc…

Thanks to Steve Wynn for getting Garth Brooks to see the Vegas lights a few years ago, Garth is setting up a series of play dates here and all of them are selling fast.  The Professional Bull Riders (PBR), who have always held their season-ending World Finals in Las Vegas, has agreed to move the big show over to the new arena.  The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) will stay at Thomas and Mack for now.  They need a different set up then what this place can arrange.

Here is the current schedule of events:

  • The Killers with Wayne Newton – April 6, 2016
  • Gun’s N’ Roses & Alice in Chains – April 8/9, 2016
  • The Harlem Globetrotters – April 19, 2016
  • George Strait & Kacey Musgraves – April 22/23

George Strait was the first musical act to sign on and set up a series of dates!

  • Billy Joel – April 30, 2016
  • Canelo Alvarez vs. Amir Khan – May 7, 2016
  • Janet Jackson – May 14, 2016
  • Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood – June 24/25
  • Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood – July 2/3/4
  • UFC 200 – July 9
  • Dixie Chicks Reunion – July 16, 2016
  • George Strait & Kacey Musgraves – September 9/10
  • Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge & Maren Morris – October 21
  • PBR – Professional Bull Riders World Finals – Nov 2-6
  • George Strait & Kacey Musgraves – Dec 2/3

More Shows and Events Being AddedCheck here for Tickets

Of course, this all comes at a cost.  For many of the locals and those from the region, that means the introduction of “Paid Parking” on the Las Vegas Strip.  An idea that is not being welcomed in any part of the city except by those who will be selling the parking!!  However, MGM has already started to build a new parking garage behind Excalibur that will be dedicated to the new arena and other options are being discussed to move people around easier.    Time will tell.


Vegas Concert Tickets

Thank You to Tom Donoghue for the photos and Maverick Helicopters for the air support!! 



Free Parking? Not No More!

Back in May of 2015, I shot this photo of the parking garage at Circus-Circus casino. The word “Free” was being painted over.  That’s when I also started to notice the subtle changes around the other MGM Strip properties.  Parking signs vanishing, booths popping up.  This was not limited to MGM, the Westgate was installing control arms in their parking lots and guest parking garage.  The resorts downtown, the Fremont Street Experience casinos stop the free parking in late 2014 early 2015 and started going to “validated” parking.

No More Free Parking

Now comes the final blow to all things unique to Las Vegas tourism, free parking on the Las Strip.  MGM announced on Friday, that they will implement parking fees at all their Strip properties later this year to “enhance” the guest experience.  Yes, on top of tight machines and poor customer service, they now want to add parking fees to your “Las Vegas Experience”.  Flashbacks to when Caesars Entertainment told us that their guests demanded resort fees! Apparently, your experience here is not complete until you leave every last dime in your pocket with them.

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According to the announcement, If you spend an unknown amount of money or get an unknown amount of points on the MGM M-Life player card, you COULD get free parking, maybe.  Again, they didn’t want to be pinned down to any specifics on what that amount has to be to “earn” the privilege of parking in their garages.

According to the LVCVA: 58% of all visitors to Las Vegas in 2014 arrived by automobile, RV, truck, motorcycle, or bus

Look for bankrupt Caesars Entertainment to announce soon that their guests as well, have asked for and demanded parking fees to be implemented on top of the already sky-high resort fees.  Where do these guests come from who they claim to want all these fees??

MGM Playbook: Nickle and Dime the Customer

This is part of that whole Book Smart-Street Dumb mentality that has crept into Las Vegas once they started to allow monopolies to run everything.  People with big letters behind their names and fancy sheepskins on their office walls started to make important decisions about people they did not understand.  They have no idea who the customer is or what they look like other than a line on a spreadsheet program.  Remember when the CEO of MGM Grand went on Undercover Boss?  He was totally clueless to the casino floor, the people who work for him or the people who walk in the front door waving their gold credit card. Absolutely clueless to what makes the money that pays his high salary and silly perks.

The first thought now is always “How can we get more of their money the fastest?”  when it really should be “what can we do to make them want to come to our resort and spend money again?”  So now MGM figures if tightening up the odds on all games didn’t piss you off enough, maybe adding parking fees will and maybe the locals will finally get the hint and stop coming down on the Strip.

Now before you bombard me with comments like “The hotels have parking fees in other cities, why not Las Vegas?”  The answer is simple.  Can you walk out of your hotel in Chicago with an open drink and walk freely down the street, stopping and looking at the sights?  No.  Why?  Because it’s a Vegas thing! Same with Free Parking!

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MGM New Parking Garage

MGM Buys a Clue

As opening day creeps closer for the Las Vegas/T-Mobile Arena, the tourist media hammered MGM about the parking issues it will face if left unresolved.  So while they announced the new resort-wide parking fees, they also announced… Surprise!  A new parking garage for the new arena.

MGM will build a $54-million, 3,000-space parking structure behind the Excalibur that will service the T-Mobile Arena, The Park, and the Theater at Monte Carlo (or whatever the Monte Carlo will be renamed to).  Construction for the new parking facility is scheduled to begin later this spring with completion scheduled for the middle of 2017.


Its Going to Be a Vegas Opening at the Arena

The wait is over, we now know who will pop the cherry at the new Las Vegas Arena next year.  The fine folks over at the MGM have released the line-up for the opening weekend festivities and it screams Las Vegas, baby!  Just to be sure to make it a Las Vegas themed event, its musical acts are all Las Vegas and hits the old school Vegas tourists with the new baby boomers tourists alike. Hometown rockers “The Killers” will be top billing for the inaugural event with “Mr Las Vegas” Wayne Newton and Las Vegas artist Shamir to round out the night.


Rick Arpin, representative for Las Vegas Arena, said, “The opening act for the Las Vegas Arena has been subject to lots of speculation, but in our mind it always made sense to celebrate Las Vegas and its homegrown talent.

“We want Las Vegas to know this is ‘your house,’ and we look forward to making The Killers feel right at home.”

The Killers

The Killers are an American rock band formed in Las Vegas, by Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning. The group has released four chart-topping studio albums: Hot Fuss (2004), Sam’s Town (2006), Day & Age (2008) and Battle Born (2012). They have also released a B-sides and rarities compilation, Sawdust (2007); a live album, Live from the Royal Albert Hall (2009); and a greatest hits album Direct Hits (2013).

The Killers are seen as one of the biggest rock bands of the 21st century, and the most successful rock act to ever emerge from the state of Nevada, having sold an estimated 22 million albums worldwide.They have achieved worldwide success as a live band, performing in over fifty countries and on six continents, headlining venues such as Madison Square Garden and Wembley Stadium.(Wikipedia)

Wayne Newton

One of the best-known entertainers in Las Vegas, started here in 1958. When Wayne and his brother Jerry, were signed to a contract to play 6 shows a night at the Fremont Hotel & Casino in Downtown Las Vegas.  In 1999, Newton signed a 10-year deal with the Stardust, calling for him to perform there 40 weeks out of the year for six shows a week in a showroom named after him. This “headliner-in-residence” deal was the first of its kind in Las Vegas.

Recently he has turned his Casa de Shenandoah Ranch into a kind of “Graceland west” tourist attraction. Where you can see a video on his life, then tour his private car collection, gaze at his awards and career highlights and memorabilia collection and the former main house. s as well as his prized Arabian horses.


I get the Killers.  I know it HAD to include Wayne Newton. But if you are like me, you may have wondered who is this Shamir? Turns out Shamir is Shamir Bailey, a 20-year-old Las Vegas native and musician who  draws influence from soul, R&B, house, disco, rap and pop.  He likes to fashion his music in the tradition of Prince, Grace Jones, David Bowie and Madonna. His debut EP “Northtown” was released in 2014, and his first album, “Ratchet,” was released in May. Ok.  Now I know….

( Tickets to Las Vegas Arena Opening Night)

Las Vegas Arena VIP entrance

VIP Digs at the Arena

While people are grumbling about the lack of parking at the new facility, those who are in the VIP area will not have to worry.  There is a private entrance to the VIP and Club seating area coming right from the 4th floor of the New York – New York Casino parking garage.  No more having to deal with the long lines and mingling with the commoners.

They are also preparing the parking facility for access to the park area between The Monte Carlo, the Las Vegas Arena and New York-New York. With escalators and drop off areas for cabbies and Uber/Lyft riders.  Parking is still going to be the thorn in their sides for getting the locals to come, visit and spend money.

Monte Carlo Concert hall

Monte Carlo Concert Hall

That’s its current name, is currently coming along at a fast pace.  When it’s done, some speculate the name of the resort it’s attached to will be changed as well as the name of the new 5,000 seat concert hall where the Blue Man Group’s theater used to sit.  Expected to open late 2016, after the new arena is open.

MGM Park

MGM Resorts International





More George Strait Dates Added

Country music legend George Strait was not really ready for retirement back in 2014.  So he decided maybe a few Las Vegas play dates would be a nice diversion. Strait will be one of the first entertainers to perform at the new 20,000-seat Las Vegas Arena, which is scheduled to open in April of 2016.

When he first announced the dates in a Press Conference in October, tickets to the 2016 dates became a hot commodity. So he agreed to a few more dates in 2017.  George will be playing a total of nine shows in Las Vegas into 2017!  George is a pure entertainer, so at this rate I would expect shows more to be added by early next year.

“I’ve missed stepping on stage and playing that first note … hearing the crowd sing in unison … there’s just nothing like it,” Strait says in a press release. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good to know that the fans have missed me, too.”

Show Dates

April 22, 2016
April 23, 2016
October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016
December 2, 2016
December 3, 2016
February 17, 2017
February 18, 2017

Just for the record:  George Strait has had 60 No. 1 singles and nearly 70 million records sold.  He is still the most-nominated artist in CMA Awards history and was the very first country music artist honored with Billboard’s “Legend Of Live” Award. His last show, which took place at AT&T Stadium on June 7, 2014,  absolutely shattered the North American attendance record for an indoor concert with 104,793 ticket-holders.

(Photo: Tom Donoghue)