Published Tuesday, June 8, 2021 | 8:39 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, June 8, 2021 | 9:23 p.m.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s board of directors moved Tuesday to initiate arbitration proceedings with the owners of the Las Vegas Aviators over a stadium naming rights deal.
The authority is at odds with the Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns the Triple A minor league franchise, over a naming rights agreement for Las Vegas Ballpark, the Summerlin home of the Aviators, according to the authority.
In 2017, authority officials approved a 20-year, $80 million naming rights deal for the ballpark, which opened in 2019.
Per the deal, the authority is obligated to make four annual payments, which total $4 million, to Clark County Las Vegas Stadium LLC, the entity that owns the ballpark under the Howard Hughes umbrella.
As part of the agreement, the operator of the ballpark, which can seat up to 10,000 spectators, is required to host at least 100 events each year, according to the authority.
In 2020 — a pandemic year when large gatherings were either banned or discouraged — Howard Hughes failed to meet that obligation, the authority said.
The authority board voted today to allow Steve Hill, the authority’s CEO, to move forward with the arbitration process.
The authority wants a discount on its payments based on the number of events at the ballpark last year.
The other side doesn’t see it that way, said Don Logan, chief operating officer and president of the Aviators.
“It’s unfortunate that the LVCVA wants to take a look at it,” Logan said late Tuesday afternoon. “I think our legal folks aren’t convinced that they should be looking at it, but it is what it is.”
Logan said the ballpark-operating group offered to give the authority a free sponsorship year on the back end of the naming rights deal during previous negotiations.
They declined the offer, he said.
“We thought that was a fair and equitable solution,” Logan said. “They obviously didn’t think that was the case. We’ve always valued and appreciated our relationship with the LVCVA. We always try to operate in good faith, and we always have. Like any partnership, you have ups and downs.”