Sunday, February 25, 2007
You probably know by now that Las Vegas was the site of the NBA All-Star Weekend 2007. We are still awaiting final word on how the city did during the event but there have been mixed reports (good and bad) on how it went. But as with any industry dominated town, casino revenue versus city expenditures will weigh the most in judgment.
My personal take? 403 arrests were made by local police from Thursday to Sunday. Most of them were of people not from the city. Hotel rooms on the Strip were sold out. But, I believe many of the visitors coming for the weekend didn't have rooms. The event pulled people from all over the Southwest but according to most in my inquiries of hotel employees, many were sleeping (sober as well as intoxicated) at the gaming machines. Cocktail waitresses were groped right and left. One mentioned to me that in fear of violence many were served Coke (instead of rum and cokes) after some just grabbed drinks off of trays going by. Many crimes went unreported in the media to avoid embarrassment by the hotels and management. So, personally, I could do without the thug-mentality, the event or even a team coming to Las Vegas in the future.
The weekend was a magnet for many of the negative aspects of the sport. Upon further reflection, I don't remember hearing of any other all-star professional event that attracts problems like this. The NHL, CFL, USTA and FIFA don't have these issues. I think that the one thing that can be done is what the NFL does... they hold it on an island. People can't just drive over to the event to people-watch, party, solicit, attack or steal. The attendees also have to pay a pretty penny just to get to the location let alone get a room or get tickets. Then again, I may be biased from my working in the industry.