The NBA isn’t looking to follow the NHL to Las Vegas anytime soon, commissioner Adam Silver said on The Dan Patrick Show. But he said the league is keeping an eye on the market.
Appearing on the show Thursday, he said the NBA is “not in expansion mode so (Vegas is) not something we’re even thinking about right now.”
Silver called the city, which will host the NBA Summer League for the 13th year in July, “a great market,” and admitted he has been watching the recent events that will bring an NHL team next week and possibly the NFL Raiders to the city.
Silver said one of his concerns about is the size of the Las Vegas television market and its potential base for season tickets. The NBA’s bar for success is having at least 10,000 season ticket holders.
“My sense is Las Vegas may not be as conducive for a traditional model for a team, where you build it on season ticket holders as opposed to reselling 20,000 tickets every night,” he said. “But on the other hand, they have this huge base of tourists, and especially I know for our league one thing we’ve looked at is the number of international tourists that come to that town.
“And as we get more popular in Asia and Europe and other parts of the world, a lot of people from those markets are constantly traveling to Vegas and that’s one of the attractions as well.”
Gambling is unlikely to drive Silver away from Nevada. He publicly supports legalized sports gambling if there’s federal oversight.
“I have come out in favor of legalized sports betting, not just in Las Vegas but throughout the United States,” he said at the NBA Board of Governors summer meeting at Wynn Las Vegas last July.
The NBA Summer League will run this year from July 8 to 18 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion and involved rookies and second-year players. There are 24 teams — 23 NBA franchises and a NBA D-League Select team — participating.
Silver’s full 13-minute interview with Dan Patrick can be seen below. He also addressed Draymond Green’s suspension for Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the intentional fouling of poor free-throw shooters.