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Elvis company to Las Vegas chapels: Let’s partner up

It looks like Elvis lives in Las Vegas after all.

Chapels warned two weeks ago not to market the King’s name and likeness or stage Elvis-themed weddings are now being offered partnerships by the company that originally threatened legal action.

Authentic Brands Group contacted multiple chapel operators on Wednesday, saying the company wants to partner with these small businesses rather than take them to court, according to chapel operators.

Emails and calls from the Review-Journal to ABG reps have not been returned.

At least one owner reports she has been offered a $20,000-a-year licensing deal to continue business as usual.

“That is their solution, to pay $20,000 a year to do what we’ve been doing for the past nine years,” said Kayla Collins, co-owner of LasVegasElvisWeddingChapel.com and the Little Chapel of the Hearts. “This was not on the table a few days ago. Frankly, I think this thing going to the public has changed their minds.”

ABG’s partnership package reportedly includes the use of registered trademarks, access to digital images, VIP hotel stays and tours to Graceland, and the authorized sale of merchandise at the chapel.

Melody Willis-Williams, president of Vegas Weddings and Viva Las Vegas Weddings, said of ABG, “They have done a complete 180.”

Willis-Williams said she had been offered a deal to pay ABG 10 percent of the sales of Elvis-themed packages to keep her business intact. She said she’s not yet sure what to do, as this option came down Wednesday afternoon.

“They told me (they) were offering the same deal to everybody,” Willis-Williams said, referring to the several chapels in Vegas targeted by ABG. “It wasn’t that they were looking for a single licensee. That’s a new message, too.”

Fremont Wedding Chapel at Neonopolis, Little Neon Chapel on Fremont Street Vegas and Chapel of Crystals at Westgate have also been contacted by ABG reps seeking a deal.

Las Vegas attorney Ben Lehavi reps Ben Silvano, who owns Fremont Wedding Chapel at Neonopolis, Little Neon Chapel on the Fremont Street Experience and Chapel of Crystals at Westgate. ABG has previously warned Silvano about using the Elvis image and likeness at all of those businesses.

Lehavi said Wednesday afternoon, “An ABG representative did reach out to discuss working out a licensing arrangement. Now we are waiting to see the terms.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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