MGM Resorts reportedly pitches plan for 2020 WNBA season in Las Vegas

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

If Bill Hornbuckle and the brain trust at MGM Resorts has its way, there may be a 2020 WNBA season after all.

Granted, it wouldn’t be played under normal circumstances, but is anything normal nowadays?

According to Kevin Draper of the New York Times, MGM Resorts International, the entity that owns the Las Vegas Aces, has pitched a plan for several sports – including the WNBA – to stage its entire season in Sin City.

The report says the NBA, MLS and NHL have also been pitched and their athletes would stay at a quarantined section of the Las Vegas Strip.

Says Draper, the WNBA and NBA were pitched a proposal where athletes would stay in Vegas alongside families, coaches and media as well as other team and league personnel. It says as many as 24 basketball courts could be built at Mandalay Bay’s convention center.

In the WNBA’s case, it obviously does not need 24 courts because that is twice the amount of teams the W currently fields. Also – the Aces’ home court is at Mandalay Bay.

Of course, the main issue with housing the WNBA – or any major sports league – in Las Vegas is regular testing for the coronavirus. There is always the possibility that a positive test, as was the case with Sydney Wiese and Theresa Plaisance, or in the NBA’s case with Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, could throw a wrench into the plans.

Because of logistics, this proposal on its face appears to be an audacious plan by the powers that be at MGM Resorts. The NBA, NHL and MLS all have many more teams than the WNBA’s 12, so shoehorning the entire W in Vegas – where there already is a team – may be more logistically feasible on the surface than the other leagues MGM issued the proposal to.

A logistical drawback comes in the form of understanding that there are a number of players that are currently overseas and would have to fly back to the States if there were to be a 2020 season even under these supposed parameters.

Said proposal is likely an attempt by MGM to give a boost to Nevada’s economy – the hub of which is Las Vegas and Clark County. Also complicating matters is how this will be received by political powers in Vegas and in the state.

Carolyn Goodman, Las Vegas’ mayor, clearly wants to reopen her city for business given tourism, which the pandemic has all but shut down, is a major engine for her city’s economy. This was apparent in a much-publicized interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Nevada’s governor, Steve Sisolak, is one of several governors around the country that has mentioned the idea of “phased” re-openings of states.

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