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ESPN pulling out stops for megafight coverage

ESPN’s budget is taking a hit this week.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports is utilizing 345 rooms for the 200-300 staffers in town for the superfight between unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

Fight Week is just the half of it: ESPN has another army of staffers in Chicago to cover the NFL Draft on Thursday.

“It’s one of the most challenging weeks ever for ‘SportsCenter,’ ” said Andy Hall, associate director of ESPN Communications.

Financially and logistically it will be an epic endeavor.

Doing double duty will be “SportCenter” anchors Lindsay Czarniak and Steve Levy. Both will do shows in Chicago and Las Vegas.

There will be a cavalcade of on-air personalities in Las Vegas, including anchors Hannah Storm, Jay Harris, Max Bretos, Robert Flores and Joe Tessitore.

Also in town: fight analysts Bernard Hopkins, Teddy Atlas and Dan Rafael; and reporters Jeremy Schaap, Josina Anderson and Bernardo Osuna.

Show hosts here include Stephen A. Smith, Cari Champion and Skip Bayless of “First Take,” Colin Cowherd of “The Herd With Colin Cowherd,” and Michelle Beadle, Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley of “Sports Nation.”

“SportsCenter” will air live multiple times from the set at the MGM Grand pool.

Cowherd will be at Born and Raised sports bar and restaurant today with “Gridlock” hosts Mitch Moss and Mike Pritchard. The show runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

DISCO RETURNS WITH TWIST

What do you get when you infuse disco with electronic dance music and Cirque du Soleil artistry?

“The perfect show for Las Vegas,” says Jerry Greenberg, a former recording industry giant. Greenberg and his partners are behind the U.S. debut of Ibiza’s DJ duo The Aristofreeks, who infuse disco into modern house music.

They will team up at Light nightclub at Mandalay Bay with Next Step, the trio of Norma Jean Wright, Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin, the original backup singers with Chic.

The show will be branded “Good Times,” after the 1979 disco classic by Chic. Greenberg is the former president of Atlantic Records and CEO of Michael Jackson’s company, MJJ.

Greenberg introduced former Sony Music CEO Tommy Mottola to Mariah Carey.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Mirage headliner Terry Fator returned to his Texas hometown to a hero’s welcome over the weekend. The salute included the honor of serving as grand marshal of Corsicana’s 40th annual Derrick Days Parade on Saturday before a sold-out performance at a high school auditorium. He received a Key to the City from the mayor, who declared it Terry Fator Appreciation Day. A community theater where he honed his ventriloquist skills was renamed The Terry Fator Studio for the 2007 “America’s Got Talent” winner. …

The Vegas Dozen: The Men We Love and Why We Love Them benefit starts at 6 tonight at on the Fashion Show mall runway. Honorees include Tony Hsieh, Tom Jingoli, Hae Un Lee, Ron Lurie, Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos, Cirque du Soleil’s Jerry Nadal, developer Kevin Orrock, Ian Staller, chef Alex Stratta, Dr. Ryan Walsh, Tim Wong and yours truly. …

The link to my trip to Denver over the weekend to receive the Denver Press Club’s Damon Runyon Award is at www.normclarke.com. The acceptance speech is included. …

Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, and his wife, Heather, attended the state dinner at the White House honoring Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday. Other guests included Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. …

Tuesday was the 10th anniversary of the opening of Wynn Las Vegas. …

Best indicator that it’s a big week: A hooker was passing out business cards at 1 p.m. Tuesday at one of the biggest hotels.

SIGHTINGS

Elaine Wynn, celebrating her 73rd birthday a day early in the company of Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and his wife, Mickie, at Lago, chef Julian Serrano’s new lakefront restaurant at Bellagio. … TV personality Chris Hansen, dining Monday at N9NE Steakhouse in the Palms.

THE PUNCH LINE

“I watched Diane Sawyer’s interview with Bruce Jenner on Friday night. I think he came off very well. He went from being a boring man to a very charming woman. We might have found our next ‘Bachelorette.’ ” — Jimmy Kimmel

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter: @Norm_Clarke

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