This is a big story–the Seminole Tribe has bought Hard Rock (but not the Vegas casino). From the AP:
The Seminole Tribe of Florida said Thursday it was buying the famed Hard Rock business, including its casinos, restaurants, hotels and huge collection of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, in a groundbreaking $965 million deal with a British company.
The deal with London-based Rank Group PLC is believed to be an American Indian tribe’s first purchase of a major international corporation of its size, the Seminoles said. It includes 124 Hard Rock Cafes, four Hard Rock Hotels, two Hard Rock Casino Hotels, two Hard Rock Live! concert venues and stakes in three unbranded hotels.
The Seminoles were the first U.S. tribe to get into the gambling business in 1979. More recently, they had partnered with Hard Rock in successful hotel, gambling and entertainment complexes in Tampa and Hollywood in tourist-friendly Florida. They now have the ability to expand their gaming interests nationally by partnering with a well-known brand, experts said.
The tribe also will acquire what is said to be the world’s largest collection of rock memorabilia, some 70,000 pieces including Jimi Hendrix’s Flying V guitar, one of Madonna’s bustiers, a pair of Elton John’s high-heeled shoes and guitars formerly owned by Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Chuck Berry.
The deal does not include Hard Rock’s Las Vegas casino, however, which is owned by Morgans Hotel Group, or Morgans’ rights to Hard Rock intellectual property in Australia, Brazil, Israel, Venezuela and many areas of the United States west of the Mississippi River, a Morgans official said.
Rank said the sale freed it to concentrate on gambling. It retained the Hard Rock Casino in London and plans to change it to the Rank Gaming brand.
As usual, when asked to comment, I said something that almost, but not entirely, made sense:
David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at University of Nevada Las Vegas, said the Seminoles likely made the deal with gambling expansion at the top of their priorities.
“I don’t think that they bought this because they only want to go into the restaurant industry,” Schwartz said. “I don’t think they want to only serve boneless buffalo wings.
That’s me speaking from experience–the boneless buffalo wings are my favorite item on the Hard Rock Cafe menu. Come to think of it, I haven’t had lunch yet, and the Hard Rock is only about 1/4 mile away. And we do get a UNLV discount there.
If I was a more analytical guy, I could try to play my comment off as superbly astute–after all, casino gaming has been called “the new buffalo,” so there’s a connection with buffalo wings…kind of.
Decades from now, future historians trawling through the news archives may find that article and wonder what boneless buffalo wings were–I like thinking that I’ll make someone very satisfied when, after some more research, they find out. I’m thinking about that because I’ve been looking at some news clippings from the first decade of the 20th century, and it’s almost in a foreign language. The mayor of Atlantic City, for example, led public campaigns against, among other things, roystering, spooning, and horseplay. I doubt whether any newspaper has mentioned “horseplay” or “roystering” for a long, long time. As for spooning…it didn’t mean then what it means now. At least I don’t think so–if it did, there were really some strange things going on back then, because the mayor personally arrested three people for spooning.