T-Mobile Arena isn’t a one-configuration-fits-all type of venue — not for entertainment and not for parking.
Just as the arena’s seats can be shifted via flexible moving platforms to accommodate concerts and different kinds of sporting events, parking plans can adjusted day by day as well.
“There’s never just one solution to accessing the T-Mobile Arena,” said Rick Arpin, senior vice president of entertainment and development for MGM Resorts International, which partnered with the Anschutz Entertainment Group to build the 20,000-seat, $375 million venue. It opens Wednesday with a concert featuring The Killers, Wayne Newton and Shamir.
“It changes on an event-by-event basis. Some events are much more tourist-based. Others tend to bring in more local residents,” he said. “Because of that, there really isn’t any one strategy you can have for getting into or out of the area.”
For some events, such as the Guns N’ Roses concerts April 8 and 9, many attendees will be from out of town for the band’s tour kickoff.
When the Harlem Globetrotters play the arena April 19, it’s more likely to be a local crowd.
“I’m not too worried about parking for Guns N’ Roses because 95 percent of the tickets are sold to people outside Las Vegas,” Arpin said. “Every event has its own profile.”
With so many tickets held by visitors, most people who go to the concerts already will be parked in the garages of their respective hotels. They’ll be able to get to the arena on foot or on local transit: taxis, buses, ride-hailing companies or the Las Vegas Monorail.
For locals, the strategy will be different. In the weeks ahead, MGM will roll out a public education campaign focused on the urban arena experience.
The strategy, in essence, is to persuade locals to make a night of the sports or entertainment event.
Go early. Stop at a restaurant for food before the event. Walk over to the arena, possibly through The Park, which opened Monday. Enjoy the concert. Stop for a drink after the event. Play a few slots and allow traffic to clear before going home.
Other cities have arenas that provide the urban arena experience, and while many locals enjoy that style when they travel, others aren’t committed to the idea or view it as a scheme to make them spend more.
Arpin also acknowledged that the event accessibility dynamic could change by season. While some are acclimated to walking outdoors in the summer, others aren’t. Pedestrians can access the arena outdoors via the Strip or indoors through New York-New York or the Monte Carlo before emerging at Toshiba Plaza and The Park.
So how should locals access T-Mobile Arena?
There are a number of options to consider, but most involve walking at least part of the way:
— Park at either end of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada Deuce bus line. Buses run every 15 minutes between 7 and 2 a.m., and every 20 minutes from 2 to 7 a.m. Southbound buses stop at Monte Carlo and northbound buses stop at MGM Grand. A 24-hour pass is $8. The two-hour pass probably won’t do much good for an event, but it’s $6.
— Take the Las Vegas Monorail from any of the resort stops along the line to the MGM Grand at the south terminus. It’s about a 12-minute walk from the monorail station to the arena. Be sure to cross on the elevated walkway over the Strip at Tropicana Avenue.
Ingrid Reisman, a spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Monorail, said the system would offer more frequent service before and after big arena events. The company is working with MGM to offer package deals in the future. Locals currently can purchase monorail tickets for $1 one way.
— Take a taxi or ride-hailing service to either New York-New York or the Monte Carlo. Taxis, Uber and Lyft have been instructed not to drop people off right at the arena. Those two resorts are as close to T-Mobile Arena as you can get via car.
— If you insist on driving, consider parking at Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Aria or Bellagio and ride the free trams that have stops at those properties. A line linking Mandalay Bay and Luxor terminates at Excalibur, and it’s a quick walk from that station to the arena. There’s also a tram linking Bellagio, the Crystals retail center and Monte Carlo.
VIPs with luxury box seats will get a parking pass to park on the fifth floor of the New York-New York parking garage. A pedestrian bridge extends from the fifth floor of the garage directly to the arena’s luxury-box level. A new ramp has been built connecting Frank Sinatra Drive from the southbound Interstate 15 ramp exit at the signaled intersection to the fifth-floor parking.
Individuals who want to buy premium parking will be able to purchase a pass to access the parking garages at New York-New York and Monte Carlo or an Aria employee parking lot that is being converted for event use. Tickets will be available for $10 online or $20 on the day of an event.
Arpin said the best route to close-in parking will be Frank Sinatra Drive, accessible from the south via the I-15 exit. From the north, motorists will be able to access the street by exiting on the flyover ramp at Tropicana Avenue, turning south into the Excalibur parking lot and onto a new access road to Frank Sinatra.
Eventually, as local transportation leaders get to know the nuances of traffic flow to and from the arena, Arpin expects partnerships will emerge to provide shuttle buses that will transport patrons to the arena from outlying local casinos.
MGM also announced in January that it is embarking on a $90 million parking strategy that would include construction of a new $54-million, 3,000-space parking garage near the northwest corner of the Excalibur Hotel property.
The strategy also will include redesigning parking facility layouts to improve accessibility, installing parking guidance systems to guide motorists to available spaces, upgrading lighting, LED signage and striping, improving escalators and elevators and developing mobile technology to check space availability prior to arrival.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at email@example.com or 702-477-3893. Find @RickVelotta on Twitter.