The Las Vegas Aces were in the WNBA Finals last season, led by A’ja Wilson. Even though they didn’t capture the title, the future is very promising for the team. Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis is a fan of the Aces, as both share the same city of Las Vegas, Nevada.
With both teams in the same city, Davis wanted to help the Aces become a top-level WNBA franchise. After purchasing the team recently, the Raiders owner is already starting to implement his vision for the Aces. He is building a facility to make training easier for them.
Mark Davis is building a training facility for the Las Vegas Aces
Davis’s first step for the Aces is to give them a brand new training center. The Raiders owner is building a 50,000-square-foot facility for the team located between the Las Vegas Raiders’ headquarters and the Raiderette’s facility on Raiders Way, per Mick Akers. The new facility will house the Aces practice facility, training rooms, lockers, and offices.
The team currently travels across the city to get to practices, their offices, and more. Getting the team a new building was important for Davis, who wanted to make sure a deal for a new facility was done before he purchased the team.
“So that they have a home…When I started working on purchasing the Aces, I wasn’t going to do it unless we could find a permanent home for them. Right now they practice over at UNLV, their offices were at MGM, then at an airplane hangar down by the (McCarran International) airport. They were pretty spread out … So it was very important to me that if I was going to take over the team I would give them a home,” Davis said, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
According to Davis, the new facility is expected to be finished by March of 2022. The building process has already started on the new facility. “They’ve broken ground, but they haven’t started putting up the walls or anything yet,” said Davis. The new training facility is only the beginning, as Davis wants to get the Aces their own arena.
“All options will be open. But we’re grateful to MGM. They have a wonderful facility there that they upgraded when they got the Aces,” said Davis.
Mark Davis consulted an MVP before buying the Aces
The Las Vegas Aces are one of the top teams in the WNBA. When fully loaded, they are led by two stars down low in Liz Cambage and A’ja Wilson. Cambage didn’t play in the “Wubble” last season because she was deemed a medical high-risk player. Wilson did play and was a monster for the Aces. She was the driving force behind the team’s run at the WNBA title.
Wilson posted career highs across the board down in the “Wubble” last season. She scored 20.5 points per game, second-most in the WNBA last year, per the WNBA website. Her defensive abilities were also exceptional, averaging 1.2 steals and two blocks per game. She won the MVP award for her sensational season. Mark Davis knew he had to get the OK from the team’s best player and the league MVP before buying the Aces.
“When we were going to play the Chargers in LA, I invited A’ja to go to the game so I could meet with her and explain to her my vision for the Aces. She gave me the thumbs up and it was all I needed. It really meant a lot to me,” said Davis.
Getting the greenlight from Wilson is a big thing. We’ve seen in recent years how star players are gaining more power within a franchise. If they don’t like the direction the franchise is going, they have to power to force the executives to change course. Wilson’s trust in Davis is key for him getting the Aces where they want to be.
It was initially a joke to buy the Las Vegas Aces
Mark Davis entered an agreement to buy the Las Vegas Aces from MGM Resorts in January. Davis is an Aces season ticket holder, but buying the team wasn’t something he seriously considered at first. Purchasing the Aces initially started out as a joke between Davis and MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle.
“I told him that one of the things that they should do is pay the women some more money … and he said, ‘If you think they should make more money, why don’t you just buy the team, and you pay them.’ “We laughed, and about a week later, he (Hornbuckle) calls me and said he was serious about me possibly purchasing them from MGM, and we started discussions at that point,” said Davis.
The WNBA and NBA Board of Governors approved the purchase of the Aces to Davis on Feb. 12. Going into the upcoming season, Davis has dedicated it to the former franchise owner, MGM Resorts.
“We’re going to try and win this one for MGM because they built a fantastic organization and brought the team here. That’s what our goal is this season,” Davis said.