On day two of the Board of Governors meetings, Darren Dreger of TSN is reporting that the league has confirmed the 2024 NHL Draft will be held at the Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28th and 29th. It will mark the first time since the 2005 NHL Draft that the draft will not be held at an NHL arena (minus the 2020/2021 drafts due to Covid), and will be the last draft before decentralization.
Although it had been known that the 2024 NHL Draft would be taking place in Las Vegas, T-Mobile Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights, had not been confirmed as the location for several months. In late October, when the NHL voted to decentralize the draft moving forward, the Sphere had been brought up as a rumored location only a month after it had opened.
It ultimately marks the end of an era for the NHL, as the league has been unique in the sense that it has always held an in-person draft, dating back to 1963 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Moving forward, due to the vote by NHL teams in October, the league will transition to a remote draft, which will likely be similar to the 2020 and 2021 NHL Drafts, likely with much more production value.
As for the location, the Sphere was originally a joint project between the Madison Square Garden Company and Las Vegas Sands, before Las Vegas Sands sold the land to Vici Properties. MSG initially calculated that the construction cost would total $1.2B, however, the final cost more than doubled the initial projections, ultimately costing a reported $2.3B in total. At that dollar value, the Sphere had become the most expensive entertainment venue in Las Vegas, surpassing the $1.9B cost of Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.