New arena looks good from inside and the outside

Idon’t do well with weather. Can’t tell a barometer from an anemometer. I hear the word congestus and think someone has a chest cold. Black ice hasn’t treated my nerves well when traveling over the years, to say nothing for my rental cars.

So it wasn’t a surprise that I completely missed on the outside design concept of T-Mobile Arena, the sparkling new multi-purpose facility that opens April 6 with a concert featuring The Killers, Wayne Newton and Shamir and that will impact the Las Vegas sports market in a historic manner.

Wouldn’t it make sense that the west side of the building include large windows, so that when visitors and locals are approaching north on I-15 and reach Tropicana Avenue, the lights inside would draw attention to the venue?

Apparently not.

“I’m not an architect and certainly not a designer,” said Dan Quinn, general manager of T-Mobile Arena and the poor guy who over the last several months had to give countless arena tours to inquiring minds, some armed with foolish questions. “But they really wanted to blend the whole nexus of the design with a beautiful red rock natural landscape and the glamour of Las Vegas.

“So you have the natural resource look on the West and the glitz and technology on the East side with windows looking out to The Strip.”

And …

“The sun is on the west, so you wouldn’t want it beating through all that glass. It’s not practical.”

Oh, yeah.


I tried. I really did. I attempted to find a bad seat in the place of 20,000. But if there is one good thing that comes from building an arena with housing a professional hockey team in mind, it’s that such a sloped design doesn’t produce many poor angles for those paying to watch events.

The sight lines for viewing basketball will benefit from the T-Mobile layout. So will those for boxing and Ultimate Fighting Championship cards and the Professional Bull Riders.

It’s a beautiful facility that will undoubtedly draw major sporting events.

Already, the Pac-12 announced it will move its men’s basketball tournament from the MGM Grand Garden, where for five years it has been by far the most successful of local conference tournaments here each March, into T-Mobile Arena in 2017.

UFC 200 is scheduled for July 9. UNLV is set to face Duke in basketball on Dec. 15, a fact the Rebels apparently don’t want anyone to know about yet but one cited on the arena’s Wikipedia schedule.

And there is this: Bill Foley and his ownership group anxiously awaits the National Hockey League Awards Show here in June, when many expect the league could officially grant Las Vegas its expansion franchise.

It would give T-Mobile Arena an anchor tenant and Las Vegas its first major-league professional sports franchise.

There is also every chance the NCAA will lift is archaic and ridiculous ban against staging championship play in Las Vegas, meaning the arena could soon host NCAA regionals for both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Maybe a Frozen Four in hockey.

Possibly championships in volleyball and gymnastics and wrestling and cheerleading.

“From the time I got the job, it was 100 percent excitement and no fear,” Quinn said. “But as we get closer to opening … It is amazing that, ultimately, we will have built this venue in less than two years. We’ve had a very aggressive construction timeline. We had great partners. We cheated the schedule where we could to make sure we opened on time. There is always someone working in there, 24 hours a day. We have a sold out arena for (April 6) and can’t disappoint those people. We’ll be ready.”

Sports is as much about atmosphere as anything, and when you consider the adjacent Toshiba Plaza, a two-acre space with a performance stage, video screens and other display areas, you could easily envision gatherings outside that could be held in conjunction with games being played inside.

There is an outdoor experience to every level of T-Mobile Arena, and you could comfortably fit 8,000 to 10,000 in and around Toshiba Plaza.

But nothing beats a good seat, and when you get past the 42 luxury suites that quickly sold out and those two club level programs and other amenities — I lost count on how many bars there are inside, which I suppose could make some Uber drivers rich on game nights — you need to know that it will be difficult to find a spot in T-Mobile Arena without a good view of whatever event is taking place.

In this manner, those building it couldn’t have done a better job.

“We wanted to do everything we could to keep it an intimate atmosphere,” Quinn said.

It will make things far easier for UNLV fans to scream unmentionables at Mike Krzyzewksi come December.

Ed Graney can be reached at or 702-383-4618. He can be a heard on “Seat and Ed” on Fox Sports 1340 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Twitter: @edgraney

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