If youre one of those people who gets upset that Vegas doesnt have a major league sports team, console yourself with this thought:
Vegas is neutral territory for star athletes, and that helps Vegas land big events featuring those athletes.
Over the weekend, Warren Moon hosted his 10th annual Sports Dream Bowl (bowling and partying) at Texas Station, Encore, Palazzo and The Venetian.
The charity event drew, among scores: Michael Irvin, Ronnie Lott, Robert Horry, Michael Johnson, Ed Too Tall Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Todd Heap, Warrick Dunn, Marshall Faulk, Eddie George, Earl Thomas and Michael Bush.
The athletes brought attention to Vegas for a good cause. They signed autographs and posed for photos. And the president of Sports Dream Bowl, Linda Mackay, told me it was really great Vegas doesnt have a major sports team, because Vegas isnt stuck with one fan base clamoring only for athletes of that team.
Theres definitely a team advantage for players (at charity events) in Dallas or San Francisco, Mackay said.
Just to keep perspective: Events mainly come here not for our lack of teams, but because Vegas is fun and efficient.
Its a very easy town to run high-end, celebrity events, because everything is at your fingertips, especially technically, Mackay said, but in every aspect.
Moon said hed like to keep Sports Dream Bowl here forever, since the city caters to athletes different interests:
One guy might like going to fine restaurants. Another guy might just like the club life. Another guy might like just hanging out at the pool all day, drinking. Another guy might want to be shopping all day. You cant go wrong here.
Johnson took his son, 10, to The Venetians Blue Man Group and Mandalay Bays Shark Reef.
Horry focused on food.
When you retire, you do whatever, he said. For me, its all about eating!
Atlanta Falcon Gonzalez said hes a Vegas foodie, too. So I asked, What happened to coming to Vegas for girls and gambling?
Yeah, thats what it USED to be for me, Gonzalez said. But now you go out, you have a good time, you bring your friends and family. Im not really a big gambler. But I love the nightlife, and when the times appropriate, I get out there and get after it.
Houston Texan Chester Pitts sometimes comes to Vegas with teammates for offensive-line trips, but he didnt spill details.
Just to come to Vegas is enough reason for me to get out of bed, Pitts said.
But this weekends trip was all for giving, he said. Moons charity covers hundreds of Urban Youth Scholarship Fund scholarships for smart but cash-strapped kids.
When guys like that find a way to give back and its real giving-back, and you see the children, and theyre getting the scholarships, and theyre doing well its a no-brainer. Its something you have to support. If you dont, youre a scumbag.
Moon said this years sponsorships (the money-making element) were his biggest ever, because a few big people got on board.
Corporations are looking for cause marketing like Moons cause, seeing it as a wiser use of money than merely donating.
It helps the image of their company, Moon said.
All together, stars and sponsor VIPs went bowling at Texas Station, clubbing at Encores Surrender pool and nightclub, and eating at First Food & Bar in the Palazzo and Emeril Lagasses Stadium at The Venetian.
The most noticeable thing about Moons charity: Athletes acted nice, as is usually the case at Sports Dream Bowl. Athletes can be the worst jerks of all celebrities. But that never seems to be the case at Moons event, which culminated with stars bowling next to sponsor VIPs at Texas Station, after amiably signing autographs for lines of tourists on a red carpet.
Mackay said Sports Dream Bowl actually turns away grumpy athletes who arent into giving.
There are certain big-named athletes that we could get very, very easily. Vegas is a good draw, Mackay told me.
But we purposely handpick every single one of them. If theres an incident where a guy doesnt want to sign autographs or take pictures, then this isnt the event for (him). There are plenty of other great, A-list athletes here for the right reason.
In fact, Mackay and Moon spent six to eight months signing up sponsors, athletes and Vegas locales. But she landed most stars just one hotel room. Stars paid their own way for extras.
Most of them when they bring their buddies out or their family or sister they pay for their own rooms, she said.
Warrick Dunn comes out every year, and he always pays for extra rooms for his brothers and sisters to come out.
Its a good group.
Doug Elfmans column appears on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 702-383-0391 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.