02/03/2006 12:00AM

Sports comes to Vegas after all


Las Vegas is a city of dreams and wild schemes. Whatever you have thought of has been tried - some ideas resulting in success, others in a bust.

So it's no surprise that a new player has come here announcing plans to build what can only be described as a Disneyland of sports.

Ultimate Sports Entertainment Inc. intends to build a $4 billion sports-themed complex that spans 116 acres in North Las Vegas near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Billed as the "Ultimate Sports Resort," it will also feature one of the city's largest casinos, which anchors a 26,000-seat main arena, another 10,000-seat arena, three 3,000-seat multi-purpose arenas, a 5,000-seat swim and dive center, along with a climate-controlled golf driving range, bowling alley, and ice rink. Oh, yeah, there is a 5,500-room hotel and 500 luxury condominiums as well. Hey, you've got to stay somewhere.

No date has been set for the groundbreaking.

We have heard such sports dreams in Las Vegas before. And, until you meet the principal of this plan, Matt Rose, you might be likely to file this idea in the "fail" file.

According to his Ultimatesports-resort.com web site, Mr. Rose is a successful businessman. He hails from California, where he bought and sold strip malls and apartment buildings. He has already anted up over $90 million of his own to the project.

This is not a "build it and they will come" project, nor is it a stadium complex waiting for the first pro team to occupy it. It is a complex where guests and visitors will be engulfed in an obscene array of interactive sports attractions. It is intended to be a home for sports competitions of all sorts throughout the year, something Rose believes is the foundation for success.

Rose is convincing. He has done his research. His company's business model does not depend on the Vegas experience to drive customers. He says that the Ultimate Sports Resort will house a variety of sports-related retail locations and a world-class sports memorabilia center, sell sports equipment and apparel, and provide a place to try out these wares. And, what would the ultimate sports resort be without an ultimate hall of fame?

"The room, food, and beverage revenue generated by hosting regional and national competitions will itself ensure profitability," Rose said. "And that's before the gaming revenue."

Rose said he has put together a first-class team of builders and administrators and a financial team. He said more than 200 sports associations and organizations have said they will participate at his complex, and he anticipates the Ultimate Sports Resort will attract 30,000 people per day that would otherwise not be in the area.

Although there are many who would question that number, not to mention the viability of the project itself, no one should question Rose's passion and dedication to this newest dream in the desert.

As Rose said, "We're ready."

Ralph Siraco is turf editor for the Las Vegas Sun and host of the Race Day Las Vegas radio show.