Thursday, April 16, 2009

TV Would Thrive With Re-Vamped Banquet In Las Vegas

When the Las Vegas Review Journal broke the story, many of us were left looking for a second form of confirmation. LVRJ Reporter Jeff Wolf was clear in saying that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has reached an agreement in principle.

Now, it is expected that NASCAR will shortly announce what we have been advocating for the past several years. The post-season Sprint Cup Banquet is leaving New York City and moving to Las Vegas. That is a shocker. Click on the picture of Jimmie Johnson's car in NYC for a reminder of the past.

While NASCAR executives are still playing coy, LVCVA President Rossi Ralenkotter has said publicly that after many years in Manhattan, the function is coming to Las Vegas. "Some deal points still need to be finalized," Ralenkotter said.

Even if those issues like the number of years and the advertising for Vegas itself at the function are still being hammered out, the deal itself is a good one. The LVCVA would pay NASCAR between $500,000 and $1 million for each year of the contract. NASCAR has the option of selecting the venue for the banquet, likely to be Dec. 4. Click here to read the entire story from the Review Journal.

TV has long been an issue where this function is concerned. After some early informality, the last years of the banquet being televised have been horrible. Despite some moments of humor, the vast majority of the TV coverage has consisted of uncomfortable drivers in unfamiliar circumstances carefully reading a teleprompter that contains a speech they did not write.

Now, the opportunity for a change of venue also signals a moment in time where wholesale changes to the format and purpose of this multi-day affair can be reviewed. This comes at perhaps one of the most critical junctures in the history of the sport.

Taking a very big step back and evaluating the issues associated with the post-season function should result in several topics being discussed. Altering the formality, evaluating the entertainment choices and using modern Internet and television technology to involve the fans all have to be at the top of the list.

Las Vegas opens up an entirely new set of possibilities that need to be coordinated by some new and fresh faces both inside and outside NASCAR itself. While Bruton Smith might try to wrangle some additional exposure for his Las Vegas track, the reality is that New York City had run its course and this is the right time for a change.

If NASCAR wrangles a three year deal with the Las Vegas authorities, it may well be because Charlotte, NC is still on the radar for the sanctioning body where all three post-season banquets are concerned. The multi-million dollar NASCAR Hall of Fame complex is deeply tied to the Charlotte Convention Center and designating that location as the final stop for all three national series may be the ultimate goal.

That gives Las Vegas three years to get things pointed in the right direction and make a case for keeping the function there permanently. Judging from the last several banquets the professional entertainers, event planners and television professionals from the Vegas strip should have very little problem making a significant improvement. First teleprompters.

TDP welcomes comments from readers. Just click on the comments button below to add your opinion on this topic. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thank you for taking the time to read The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

Huh. Just as the fans have been suggesting, the banquet was moved to Las Vegas.

Ask (enough times) and ye shall receive, I guess.

Anonymous said...

It makes perfect sense. Why would you continue to hold a banquet in a city that doesn't care about your sport? I know they thought they'd have some sort of "in" if they courted the City, but let's face it, in this economy, that ain't going to happen. No big money tracks are going to be built outside NYC.

Viva Las Vegas, I say! LOL

Newracefan said...

It may be all about the money, I read somewhere that the hotel rooms etc and less expensive and somehow I don't think New York paid Nascar anything for the honor. Let's hope they make those greatly needed improvements. I wonder with this year of "thank the fans" Nascar wants to make the banquet more fan friendly since it was absolutely not about the fans.

Anonymous said...

I have been to both cities as a tourist and like them both a lot. I was in NYC in the late 80s when the banquet was there, as a coincidence. Saw Robert Yates and spouse in Macy's, I think. I knew who they were, no one else did. The car on Times Square was almost invisible in the 80's madness of Times Square. Saw some driver somewhere else-again, I knew who it was. No one there cared. Vegas? Different story. This is a great idea. I would not go to the banquet or ceremony, whatever they pitch, but perhaps would if they have an exhibition or something with it. But to move it from Vegas to Charlotte, looking ahead...well, LV would have to fall on its face to mess this up. I suspect the teams would enjoy a trip to Vegas at the end for awards. Rather than just driving down I-77 to "uptown" and then trying to park there for a ceremony. It seems it would take some of the luster off the award. This is a great idea. And you can find a variety of prices for hotel rooms there-for the average fan-that you won't find in NYC.

Anonymous said...

Its not going to make much of a difference at all. Five times as many people will watch Law & Order reruns than the banquet.

batchief said...

I really think this is a better location, but, if Nascar is truely concerned about saving teams money, wouldn't Charlotte, NC be more logical (at least until the economy recovers)? Most teams and their members live in the area, which in itself would save on transportation and housing cost. Just a thought.

Daly Planet Editor said...


They are still putting the finishing touches on the Hall of Fame. When that is done late in 2010, look for the CCVB to pressure NASCAR to make the move.

Las Vegas needs to step-up quickly and try to establish a tradition that will be tough to break.


Mary said...

I think Vegas is a great idea at least they know what Nascar is there and I'm sure the teams, media etc will have a much better time there and the weather is better. Personally I loathe and detest New York it must be the nastiest, dirtiest place I've ever been to and avoid it at all costs.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see how Vegas does. But I do agree with Batchief, they should have it in their backyard.

And I'd love to see the poor winning crew teams have real recognition instead of being up in the nosebleed seats.

Sure the driver and CC did something but the OTW gang is the one who helped keep/gain positions and the "boyz from the shop" helped (hopefully) to keep the engine going all race and built a machine capable of running up front.

Dot said...

I read this in the RJ yesterday. I'm excited but not getting my hopes up. Doesn't the Emperor have a love affair with NY like he does with LA? Plus, LV is SMI territory. No benefit for ISC.

BF will keep the banquet in NY out of tradition. Even though he has taken a lot of tradition out of racing.

The Track Girl said...

Gymmie- I always feel so bad for the teams- waaaay in the back.
Luckily, there's not much in NYC for the Banquet. I think that the fact that there wasn't even a parade this year says a lot. NYC could probably care less if NASCAR doesn't show up.

I think that Vegas can have an awesome couple of years. How fun it will be to have them somewhere festive instead of somewhere totally unrelated to anything our sport offers. (Ok, Vegas is a stretch, but its flashy and there's a track there.)

In time, I think that the right place for the Awards is in Charlotte, at the Hall of Fame. But the HOF is going to need a few years to get sorted out.

I'm excited for the move, and the possibilities it offers. :) yay for a positive change!!

GinaV24 said...

I think this is a great opportunity for NASCAR to improve what has become an incredible bore of a banquet. A little less formality and a lot more personality would be great, plus if they can use the internet rather than a channel that a lot of people don't get to broadcast the banquet, it would be a help. I'm betting that one the HOF is up and running that Charlotte will be the place to be. I think they asked Jeff Gordon during his media thing at Texas about it and his comments were they could still do the media stuff in NYC - all the talk shows for instance and then have the banquet in LV. I agree, JD, no teleprompters and for heaven's sakes, get someone who knows something about NASCAR to be the host, not some 2nd rate Hollywood star or lousy comedian.

Anonymous said...

"TV Would Thrive With Re-Vamped Banquet In Las Vegas"...not as long as it is on ESPN Classic. Since ESPN can't show it live, the the gracious and gentlemanly thing for them to do would be to give it back to TNT. : )

Vicky D said...

Well I have been saying for years these awards programs are so boring I can't see why anyone would want to watch them. How can it be any better in Vegas?

Anonymous said...

As a former racer, this is my take. The races are for the fans. The Banquet is for the racers. I don't think that 1 out of a thousand fans really give a rip.
Personally, I always thought that going to the Waldorf in NY, was putting lipstick on a pig. Truth to tell, after the long grind of a NA$CAR season with all the demands on a drivers time. Most drivers would rather get the checks in the mail, & stay home. I have never watched one, but I did see a clip of one once, & I have to say, seeing Chocolate Myers in a tux was a hoot.


Anonymous said...

I agree with dawg. There is a large school of thought that says the banquet is for the teams and NASCAR to thank the sponsors. They do so much for the fans all year long, why must we have fans present in a vocal and interactive way at the banquet? Can you imagine the booing when Kyle hits the stage to accept his (hopefully not 1st place) award? What an image!

I do enjoy watching it on TV, but sort of as a "fly on the wall". I don't feel the desire to involve myself in the proceedings with "modern Internet and television technology", because it is not about the fans, it is about the teams.

Bobby said...

There's another problem if Las Vegas gets the bid: the awards week takes place during National Finals Rodeo Week AND Las Vegas Marathon weekend. Big no-no for the city. Three big events in one weekend is a no-no.

Plus what is there for drivers if they aren't "waving the flag" on the stock market, or hanging out at the Garden for a game, or in the theatre in Broadway?

Ocker92 said...

The move to Las Vegas is one thing that needed to be done. Now, there just needs to be more fan interaction and TV coverage, both will most likely increase with the move. But, they need to try and shy away from the teleprompter just a little bit. We need to see more mistakes, like Kyle Busch getting his girlfriend's name wrong a couple of years ago. Or the always fascinating commentary by Smoke.

Anonymous said...

If the banquet is for sponsors, it will be interesting to see if any of them show up. With the economy now, executives are under fire for lavish trips, conferences at resorts and attendance at sporting events. Even at Texas a few weeks ago, some luxury suites sat empty during the race because the companies that own them didn't think it was appropriate to attend or bring a bunch of clients in to town. So who knows if marketing VPs etc will be willing to jet out to Vegas?

Also, Bobby brought up the first thing that popped into my mind -- the first week in December is rodeo week in Vegas. That's a huge deal.