Esports Draw an Audience – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I reflect back on EVO 2017, which I attended a while back:

Which brings us to EVO 2017, which took place at the Mandalay Bay last month. EVO is short for the Evolution Championship Series, an annual tournament that seeks to crown the best players in several fighting video games, one of many popular genres of esports. This isn’t the first time the tournament has been held in Las Vegas—it’s been here since 2005.

Read more: Esports Draw an Audience More Interested In Fun Than Payouts – Vegas Seven

If you don’t know anything about the tournament, it features fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken. Esports in Las Vegas are interesting to me because they show (I think) how esports are becoming more mainstream and (simultaneously) how Las Vegas continues to adapt to a post-gambling-monopoly existence. People come to Las Vegas to do many things, and gambling seems to be sliding further down the list.

I’m not saying that’s a good thing or a bad thing; I’m just saying it’s happening.

Trekkie Nightlife in Vegas Seven

At long last, an article that I wrote during the recent Creation Entertainment Star Trek convention is out as this week’s Green Felt Journal in Vegas Seven:

The first thing you see walking into McFadden’s at the Rio is William Shatner in his full late-1960s Technicolor glory on one of the wide-screens that’s usually devoted to SportsCenter. Even with the sound off, you can tell in a second that this is the climax of “Balance of Terror,” when his Romulan nemesis tells him he has one last duty, and that in a different reality they might have been friends.

You know that everyone else here knows it, too. You’re in the right place.

via Nightlife on the Starship Enterprise | Vegas Seven.

This was a fun one to write, because I’m a Star Trek fan (this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows me on Twitter). The convention itself was a real experience, one that I hope to write more about.

As far as this piece goes, it was not an easy one to write. I had spent about an hour at McFadden’s trying to think of how I was going to tie this all together. Luckily, I’d been watching “Balance of Terror” on Netflicks the week before, which just happened to be playing on the TVs when I came in.

But I didn’t know how I was going to pull it all together until I saw the woman–who at first looked like a respectable middle-aged HR manager or schoolteacher, showing off her tattoo. So that became the emotional center of the story. From there it became a matter of building up to it.

I’d already written one draft when I was sitting in the vendors’ room doing a rewrite. Now my problem was finishing the piece. I wanted to tie it back to what’s happening in Vegas now, and why it’s important to cater to groups like Trekkies. But I was coming off as too preachy.

Then I saw a guy wearing a green wraparound captain’s tunic, and couldn’t help but noticing his Galaxy-class paunch stretching the fabric to the limit. Which got me thinking about William Shatner, and his SNL skit back in the 1980s when he told fans to “get a life.”

Boom. Something clicked in my brain, and it all fell into place.

So that’s how the piece came together. I hope you like it.

Courting Business Travellers in Vegas Seven

I’ve got a news piece in today’s Vegas Seven about the paradox and problems of pitching Vegas as a party hearty/business friendly destination:

The Las Vegas tourism business is a paradox these days. On paper, things look great: So far this year, visitation numbers are up by more than 5 percent from last year, when more than 37 million visitors came to town. As far as sheer numbers go, Las Vegas is well on its way to rebounding from the recession. But tourism is not, ultimately, a numbers game: it’s a money game. And with the Vegas convention business still trying to regain its footing after the recession, the money’s not what it used to be.

via Courting the Boss | Vegas Seven.

I think this is a big piece of the puzzle. Obviously, there’s no easy answers, but this is something Las Vegas has to figure out if it wants to continue to be a major business travel destination in the post-AIG era.

Vegas convention tech in Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal I look at how technology is changing the convention biz in Vegas:

Getting conventions to come back isn’t going to be easy, though both the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority and several casinos are reporting more robust bookings next year. The challenge will be keeping these guests happy in Las Vegas, and increasingly, technology is helping to do that.

via Vegas convention biz heads for cutting edge | Vegas Seven.

This is definitely a topic I’d like to return to. I think that getting feedback from customers on the ground level would be a great way to determine how casinos can use the right technical applications to get a competitive advantage over other convention destinations.

History sez it’s OK to party

I’ve got an article in the Las Vegas Business Press today that elaborates my earlier thoughts on the Las Vegas business travel flap:

At the height of an unprecedented national crisis, a group of American leaders traveled to one of the countrys most expensive tourist destinations, where they set about the business of righting the ship of state. There were plenty of distractions in their decadent surroundings, and many in the group gambled nightly.

These were not banking executives secluding themselves at Mandalay Bay to salvage their assets or develop a plan for mitigating their toxic loans. No, this was the Second Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia from 1775 to 1777 and, responding forcefully to British provocations, created the basis for the United States of America.

Philadelphia then was one of the colonies largest and most cosmopolitan cities and the delegates to the Congress availed themselves of its numerous social activities. Thomas Jeffersons diary notes his exact losses at the backgammon tables during the weeks that he was writing the Declaration of Independence.

Faced with calamity for their countrymen and personal ruin if they failed, the delegates chose to meet in a city, not an isolated rural town with no temptation. They knew that while their business was important, it didnt demand complete self-sacrifice.

Todays fiscal leaders, who had been rebuked into forsaking corporate meetings in Las Vegas, should heed the example of our Founding Fathers. Theres no reason that disciplined executives and employees can’t take care of business during the day and have some fun at night.

Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Las Vegas has been victimized by its own marketing strategy.

Maybe that last line is the key to a new ad campaign for Las Vegas. “Las Vegas, the metaphorical mullet. Business up front, rock and roll in the back.”