Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vegas - NHL gets it. Why doesn't NASCAR?

Looks like the NHL is going to move its annual awards ceremony from Toronto to Las Vegas. Admittedly, this is a bit of risky move because the NHL's closest team to Vegas is its troubled franchise in Phoenix. But at least they are trying something different.

Meanwhile, NASCAR still plans to have its season-ending banquet in December 2009 in New York City as they have for about the last 20 years or so.

NYC is often billed as the "city that never sleeps". Apparently that moniker was created before NASCAR came to town because New Yawkers don't give a rip about the Cup guys coming to town.

I understand the importance to NASCAR and its participants of corporate America, big business, sponsor representatives, Madison Avenue ad agencies, blah, blah, blah. But don't those groups all hob-knob enough as it is throughout the year? The rest of the city simply DOES NOT CARE, and the banquet festivities don't move the needle amongst the city's residents or fans in any other part of the country.

Meanwhile, Vegas folks and others from the southwestern U.S. have shown up in strong numbers to the races out there. If planned properly, I think NASCAR could reinvent its annual banquet program - including moving it to Vegas just as the NHL is doing.

I'm not much of a Vegas guy myself - don't gamble, don't pay $200 to see washed-up pop singers, and prefer a bit of moisture in my breathable air. I'm likely in the minority though. I think the sponsor-laden cars, the flourescent decals and paint, loud V-8s, and driver personalities are much better suited to parade around the Vegas strip and various casino autograph sessions than they are at the Waldorf Astoria, reading a top 10 list on Letterman, or ringing a bell on Wall Street.


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