Thursday, April 30, 2009

TV Eyes Turning To Las Vegas For New Look Banquet

Now that NASCAR has made it official, plans are being formulated for the first post-season banquet week in Las Vegas, NV. NASCAR Chairman Brian France recently issued a statement on the move.

"I can't say enough about the warm reception from Las Vegas," said France. "Las Vegas really made it a priority to get the awards ceremony moved there. We were able to come to an agreement on reasonable room blocks, banquet facilities, and approvals to hold fan activities on the famous Las Vegas Strip."

France's comments suggest that the new look post-season activities may have little resemblance to the dated and scripted banquet televised each season on the ESPN networks. France himself seemed to show little interest in this function on TV and made cameo appearances that were painfully awkward.

Now, NASCAR has a blank canvas and seven months to get it painted. While that may seem like a lot of time, it is painfully short where both event planning and TV production are concerned. This is especially the case because of two small words in France's statement. They are "fan activities."

The biggest shift in the post-season party could be the inclusion of NASCAR fans. This season a trip to Las Vegas is more affordable than ever before and the potential exists to create an entirely new vibe for the drivers, teams and sponsors once the season is over.

TV viewers have seen the kind of blanket coverage SPEED has offered for the All-Star Race and other special events. ESPN has originated many NASCAR specials on-location at places like the Richard Petty museum, DEI headquarters and Daytona International Speedway. The potential exists to change the post-season TV coverage that has been a disaster since the new TV contract began in 2007.

Dreamers may look to large events like the X Games or the ESPY Awards. Realists may strive to preserve the tuxedos and the ballroom setting. In actuality, the opportunity to create a TV-friendly post-Homestead destination loaded with a combination of fan activities and team relaxation is very possible.

As we approach the halfway point in the season, it should be interesting to see what details start to emerge about the ideas being discussed for this first-time project.

Since TDP has luckily been able to get a great collection of NASCAR fans as readers, what are your suggestions for some post-season fun in Las Vegas? Tell us what you would like to see on TV for the awards ceremony and also what activities would get you interested in traveling to Las Vegas on December 4th?

To add your opinion on this topic, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


TexasRaceLady said...

Keeping in mind that the thousands of fans who would love to attend the ceremony can't possibly be accommodated, it would be nice to figure some way to include some fans at the ceremony itself.

Send in a postcard and get your name drawn --- although that could lead to ballot-box stuffing.

Maybe anyone in Las Vegas who is standing outside the hotel, could be asked inside for the awards.

Have the TOP 12 do a meet/greet at the Convention Center.

By all means let the cars and haulers do a parade on the Strip.(I know, traffic doesn't move on the Strip as it is, so what's a few more obstacles. LOL)

Let more than the Champion be visible. I know it's his time to shine, but we fans pay the bills.

Anonymous said...

The current hauler parade works very well.

Doing it with the cars would be fun.

Dot said...

You know I'm fizzed up about the Banquet coming to LV. It's the perfect time because believe it or not, December is our slow month. Of course with the economy, all months are slow now.

Whatever they have planned, I want to be a part of it to show my support. I think LV will show NASCAR that they made a good choice over NY. At least the mayor won't stop them from cruising the Strip. Especially since the Strip is in Clark County and Oscar is the Mayor of Las Vegas. Confusing, huh?

If any of the Planeteers are coming, maybe we could meet up. How fun would that be?

Richard in N.C. said...

The 1st thought that strikes me is that I hope the award ceremony is arranged so the appearance of Dale, Jr. or Kyle Busch is not followed by a huge chorus of boos from the audience.

Vicky D said...

Dot, and maybe when Marcos moves up in the top 12, you can meet up and talk to him in LV. What a great time for all that would be. I don't particlarly like award/banquets so I won't watch it but I bet it can't be worse than NYC.

Anonymous said...

While I bet deep down the drivers are upset that they have to trade the ultimate world-class luxury of the Waldorff-Astoria for the imitation-plastic faux-luxury of the Mandalay Bay - this will be a big jackpot for both fans and Las Vegas.

Vegas is really hurting now, and will really roll out the red carpet, so to speak, for any new business - especially an event with the potential to fill tens of thousands of hotel rooms. I bet Vegas gave NASCAR everything they could possibly want in a venue and more.

The potential cherry on the cake is the close proximity of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It would be great to have an All-Star race or retired legends race or Cup drivers in late-models or some other on-track event to really juice the weekend attendance. Plus - with the Bud Shootout having it's uniqueness absolutely ripped from it, it would be nice to have a new non-points event on the schedule.

Anonymous said...

>Keeping in mind that the thousands
>of fans who would love to attend the
>ceremony can't possibly be

Says who? Vegas has tons of rooms that could seat a banquet on the floor and has grandstand theatre seating above it. In fact most of the showrooms are set up that way and can fit tens of thousands of paying ticketholders and still have the drivers at dinner tables.

Anonymous said...

If you've ever been in Vegas when Cup races there, it is a great environment - everyone on the strip has team colors on, most every hotel puts a stock car in the lobby, the whole town loves NASCAR.

Dot said...

@ VickyD, you are so sweet. I did see him at the track and got his autograph.

darbar said...

Hey, have you ever been in a suite at Mandalay Bay? It's pretty darn extravagant. I've stayed at the aging Waldorf and perhaps in it's heyday it was wonderful, but I would hardly call it palatial or world class luxury. If you want that, along with 5 star service, you don't go to the Waldorf anymore.

I've also stayed in one of the biggest suites at the Bellagio and I can tell you, they are far more luxurious than the Waldorf. And I would guess that the teams could pick any of the 5 star hotels in which to stay.

The weather will be better, it will be easier for the fans to get closer to any of the activities and there are a world of possibilities that LV can offer that NYC cannot. And besides, we all know that NYC has a ho-hum attitude about Nascar, regardless of what they might want you to believe.

BTW, there are 124,270 hotel rooms in Las Vegas. I think that would accommodate race fans with no problem. While they all won't be able to attend the ceremonies, they couldn't do that before when it was at the Waldorf.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Remember, no one has said that a banquet is going to be held like the old days.

This is a clean sheet of paper. Keep in mind that NASCAR has combined the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series banquets this season in Miami, which is on the way home for the teams from Homestead.

As you may remember, neither of those two use the Sprint Cup Series set-up. Drivers come to a couch and are asked a couple of questions after a video clip rolls of their season highlights.

The new approach to an end-of-season function could be anything. Teams walking on the stage, liveshots back to the shops, or informal attire for all concerned.

One person already emailed me a suggestion for a NASCAR REHAB party on that weekend. Wouldn't that be some interesting TV?


darbar said...

One thing I do not want is some kind of take off on a late night talk show with someone sitting in the host's chair and the top 10 taking turns sitting next to him/her and chatting. I would like to see more focus on the entire team, as they are just as important as the driver. I would guess that if you polled the drivers, they would all pretty much vote against the whole tuxedo thing. Most of them look downright uncomfortable in those things.

TexasRaceLady said...

Anonymous said...

Says who? Vegas has tons of rooms that could seat a banquet on the floor and has grandstand theatre seating above it. In fact most of the showrooms are set up that way and can fit tens of thousands of paying ticketholders and still have the drivers at dinner tables.

April 29, 2009 6:02 PM

darbar said
BTW, there are 124,270 hotel rooms in Las Vegas. I think that would accommodate race fans with no problem. While they all won't be able to attend the ceremonies, they couldn't do that before when it was at the Waldorf.


Maybe I didn't make myself clear --- I'm well aware that Vegas has plenty of hotel rooms --- I've lost quite a number of dollars in various large establishments.

And, I'm well aware that the show halls are huge ---

But, I still don't think that all the fans who would love to ATTEND THE AWARDS CEREMONY could be accommodated in one show hall.

darbar, I agree with you about placing the emphasis on the whole team. Let the team shine, also.

However, I do like the tuxedos --- some of those drivers look sooooo good. LOL

Garry said...

There are many Hollywood awards shows that include the "fans". As well as the Country Music Awards, the ACM's which are held in Vegas, (maybe one is). So it is possible to have fans attend the ceremony. Yes, you might have the possibility of boos, but that's no different than the track, right? You can only hope that the fan zone is non-alcohol, and that people react as adults. Another idea is tent "meet and greets", where drivers have autograph sessions, give-aways, and sponsor promotions. After all, it's the fans that buy the product, ultimately signing the drivers' checks.

Anonymous said...

How about a live broadcast of the banquet on the GIANT LCD screen at Freemont Street Experience downtown?

Ken-Michigan said...

I think there are people that actually get paid to come up with the ideas for the NASCAR awards banquet. NASCAR and the TV networks don't listen to any of our suggestions on TDP as it is now, why should we expect them to listen to our suggestions now ??

But here's a few.....

For the awards ceremony, do not allow tele-prompters. That is one of the main reasons I don't watch anymore... makes it too phony.

Although I would not attend an awards ceremony, many fans would like to. There is no reason why a larger venue such as the Thomas & Mack arena, Sam Boyd Stadium, MGM arena or the Mandalay Bay arena should not be considered.

The "Chase" drivers should all have their cars rolled out or driven onto the stage(with crew members along side) for their speeches to better serve their respective sponsors. Only the Championship crew will be introduced.

During the awards weekend, Las Vegas Motor Speedway should host a one day, "ride-along" with each of the 12 drivers and their cars. Fans could make a generous donation to ride along with their favorite driver(s) with ALL proceeds going to charity. A limited number of ride along's would be available, sell tickets to ride along in advance.

And finally, one final episode of NASCAR Smarts could originate from the top of the Stratosphere Tower.
Who ever LOSES that final episode, either Kyle Petty or Rutledge Wood would have to bungee jump with John Roberts on LIVE TV. THAT would, at long last, make that show viewable.

those are my thoughts !!

The J said...

as long as i dont have to hear those painfully fake, boring speeches 90% of the guys said during the NYC days, i think this will be a great move.

margie44 said...

I'm excited that the banquet is coming to Vegas.

All the aforementioned ideas have merit. I especially like the one about the car and crew coming on stage with the driver. In NY they were hidden up on that little balcony. This is indeed a team effort and should be acknowledged.

Also, having some kind of race event at the track would bring in some extra money and one last bit of excitement before the loooong winter hiatus.

I see this as a win/win for everyone.

Newracefan said...

I like the idea of more fan access, maybe a different type of event each day. Ride alongs, appearances, what ever. Cars on the strip absolutely. I one thing I would really like to see is the winning crew chief to recieve his award the saw time the driver does. That award at the luncheon stuff has got to go.

Newracefan said...

Oh Lets not forget the crew either, they shouldn't be in the nosebleed seats

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