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Indy Gaming: Oak View subsidiary to manage partnerships with sports and entertainment brands

The first client for Crown Properties Collection will be managing partnerships for the $2.3 billion Sphere in Las Vegas.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz

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Los Angeles-based Oak View Group, which is building a $10 billion hotel, gaming and entertainment district near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road, has created Crown Properties Collection (CPC) which will manage partnerships with sports and entertainment brands and venues worldwide.

The initial effort will be focused on the $2.3 billion Sphere in Las Vegas.

Jay Voelker, who was named president of Crown Properties last week, said the Sphere’s recent partnership with YouTube in promoting the streaming service’s “NFL Sunday Ticket” on the 580,000-square-foot LED exterior was similar to what the newly created company plans to bring to the venue.

“We don't want it to be just a ‘flash your logo on here.’ We're trying to tie it to a relevant cultural moment,” Voelker said. “You saw that with the NFL and you will see that again with the [Las Vegas Grand Prix].”

Voelker, who oversaw the PGA Tour’s global sponsorship business before joining CPC, said the partnership with Madison Square Garden (MSG) Entertainment and its spin-off Sphere offers many recognizable brands and properties for partnership opportunities. In addition to the namesake New York City venue, Madison Square Garden controls Radio City Music Hall, the NBA’s New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers.

“Crown Properties Collection’s purpose is to provide unprecedented global representation for world-renowned sports and entertainment brands and venues,” Voelker said.

He noted the Sphere, which opens Sept. 29 with the first performance of a 25-show residency by rock band U2, includes a “beautiful atrium” inside the venue in addition to the exosphere.

“You start to think about the large volume of convention and meeting business that happens in Las Vegas and to be able to leverage the Sphere for both the exosphere and atrium, and you combine that with music, your mind can wander over the possibilities,” Voelker said.

Oak View, which is overseen by CEO Tim Leiweke, plans to develop a 20,000-seat arena that could potentially house an NBA team as the initial phase of its Las Vegas development.

Voelker said he is focused on the partnership with MSG and Sphere before he even begins to consider plans for a new Las Vegas arena.

Leiweke, who in 2021 opened the $1.2 billion, 18,100-seat Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, which is home to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, said Voelker's presence gives Oak View a stronger presence in Las Vegas.

"Under Jay’s leadership, Crown Properties Collection will represent only the most valuable properties in all of sports and entertainment together with the most revolutionary venue in the world, Sphere in Las Vegas," Leiweke said.

Jeremy Aguero, left, principal analyst with Applied Analysis, talks to Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval at the Las Vegas Stadium Authority meeting on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

A’s follow Raiders in naming owner’s representative

The Oakland Athletics continue to follow the Raiders' path to Las Vegas.

The team last week hired CAA ICON, a division of entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists, as the owner’s representative during the development and construction of the A’s proposed $1.5 billion Las Vegas ballpark.

CAA ICON will assist in the overall project management and help oversee work by the planned 33,000-seat stadium’s architect, construction manager, subcontractors and other consultants. The A’s recently announced the team is completing plans to select an architect for the ballpark and has hired Mortensen and McCarthy Building Companies to manage construction-related activities.

The A’s are locked in on 9 acres of a 35-acre south Strip location that houses the Tropicana Las Vegas. Nevada lawmakers and Gov. Joe Lombardo approved up to $380 million in public financing on June 15 to fund a portion of the stadium construction. 

CAA ICON served in a similar role for the Las Vegas Raiders during the construction of Allegiant Stadium and during the development of the team’s headquarters and primary practice facility in Henderson.

The company also represented the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights during the construction of T-Mobile Arena and the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces when the team’s practice facility was built.

“CAA ICON is the unrivaled leader in the management of sports venue development,” A’s President Dave Kaval said in a statement. “They are the best firm to oversee the representation of our ownership team and transform our ballpark vision into reality.”

Outside of Las Vegas, CAA ICON oversaw the development and construction of the Chase Center in San Francisco for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the restoration of Wrigley Field in Chicago for the Chicago Cubs.

“We are so grateful that the A’s have entrusted us to oversee this landmark project on their behalf.” CAA ICON Co-CEO Charlie Thornton said in a statement. “Ownership’s vision for this project is undoubtedly unique to the league and will become a key part of the Las Vegas sports story.”

The Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks on Friday, March 10, 2023. (Tim Lenard/The Nevada Independent)

Nugget Casino owner Century is now VICI’s third-largest tenant

Colorado-based Century Casinos, which closed its $190 million purchase of the 1,382-room Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks in April, is now the third-largest tenant of real estate investment trust (REIT) VICI Properties.

After closing the sale-leaseback of its four casinos in Alberta, Canada, to VICI last week, eight of Century’s 11 gaming properties are owned by the gaming REIT. The Nugget and Century’s two legacy Colorado casinos are still owned and operated by the company.

Caesars Entertainment is VICI’s largest tenant with 18 properties, followed by MGM Resorts International with 13 properties.

Century sold the four Canadian casinos to VICI for $162.4 million. Company executives said the transaction “provides us with the ability to pay down our debt.”

Century pays VICI $55.8 million in annual rent, which pales in comparison to the $1.15 billion paid by Caesars and $1.05 billion paid by MGM Resorts.

According to its most recent investor presentation, VICI collects more than $2.9 billion in annual rent from 11 tenants covering 54 gaming properties.

The under-construction Fontainebleau Las Vegas is seen on Monday, January 23, 2023, from the Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall parking lot. (Howard Stutz/The Nevada Independent)


Via press release from Fontainebleau Las Vegas

The 3,700-room Fontainebleau Las Vegas, which is expected to open in December with 6,500 employees, will hold a five-day job fair beginning Sept. 25 to fill approximately 1,500 positions for the north Strip resort’s restaurants, bars, and nightlife operations. Those interested in participating in the hiring event can find further details regarding positions, timeline and attire on

“As we quickly approach a pinnacle moment in both Las Vegas’ and Fontainebleau’s history, we are excited to begin ramping up hiring efforts for our world-class resort. As a resort, we are committed to recruiting individuals who are both passionate about luxury hospitality and eager to be a part of history.”

-          Mark Tricano, president, Fontainebleau Las Vegas

Via research note from Truist Securities

Gaming analyst Barry Jonas held an investor meeting in New York with Light & Wonder CEO Matt Wilson, who said the gaming equipment provider expects to see $1.4 billion in annual cash flow by 2025. The company said new video lottery equipment sales in markets contemplating expansion, including North Carolina, were not previously anticipated.

“Light & Wonder believes they have largely addressed the legacy installed [slot machine base] and are now in a better position to displace more competitors as they further grow. The replacement market also appears healthy as management sees further runway for [casino] operator slot spending given the post-COVID focus to keep casino floors fresh.”

-          Barry Jonas, analyst, Truist Securities


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