The Aces have an enthusiastic core of fans who show up at Mandalay Bay and create a tangible home advantage.
But it’s also a fan base with plenty of room for growth, and expanding the reach of Aces in Las Vegas is one of the biggest challenges for new owner Mark Davis.
Davis, who also owns the Raiders, said in a news conference Wednesday that he would borrow from the strategy his NFL team was unveiled in Las Vegas after being awarded to the city in 2017.
The Raiders completed the move to Las Vegas last year.
“We weren’t waiting to get into the community,” said Davis. “We didn’t wait to get our community relations people to Las Vegas. I think that’s one of the strengths that got us through the pandemic as well. The fact that we’ve built such relationships in the community has helped us grow our presence, and I think we can do the same with the aces.
“MGM did a good job. I think we can take it to the next level and let everyone know the aces are here to stay. “
The Aces had an average of 5,307 fans per game in their 2018 first season, and the number dropped to 4,669 in 2019. These were below the league average of 6,779 and 6,528 respectively.
All of last season’s WNBA games were played in a bubble in Bradenton, Florida.
Davis said part of the reason he bought the aces was to promote women’s sports. He’s putting his wallet behind such efforts and building a 50,000-square-foot practice facility for the aces in Henderson between the Raiders and Raiderettes facilities. Davis expects the project to be completed in March 2022.
“I applaud Mark Davis for recognizing the growth potential for women’s sports and for being a wonderful partner in the community in supporting youth development and promoting diversity in sport and beyond,” said Debra March, Henderson Mayor.
For game night, the aces are required to play another season at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Mandalay Bay with two year-long options. Davis said he will consider options for a more long-term arena.
“Some of the lessons I learned with the Raiders are that the venue you play in is very important to your local economy,” said Davis. “MGM controls most of these assets, such as B. naming rights, such as. B. the sponsorships that take place 365 days a year. We’re going to need these kinds of sources of income to build the coffers of the aces. Whether this will continue through negotiations with MGM about the continuation of the lease, or whether we will look at other locations, or whether we will build a place for the aces, these are decisions that we will make in the near future. “
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at [email protected] Follow @ markanderson65 on Twitter.