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Big Fight Sponsorships Suit Caesars In Tunica

11 August 2004


With three casinos in Tunica Resorts, Caesars Entertainment has a big presence and it easily follows that sponsorship of big events, like the Roy Jones vs Glenn Johnson IBF light heavyweight world champion match, is a natural fit.

While the fight is being held in Memphis at the new FedExForum and will be televised on HBO, it will have a profound impact on Tunica's casino community as well as gaming and boxing go hand in hand. Two previous major matches here, the Tyson-Lewis fight and the Tyson- Etienne bout, put the area on a track to becoming a major fight center and now the Jones-Johnson fight helps support that premise.

A major ingredient in the success of these big name fights is the sponsorship role of Caesars Entertainment which operates three casinos here, Grand, Sheraton and Bally's and for the upcoming fight, Grand will be the title sponsor for "Fight Night at the Forum" on Sept. 25. It will be the first sporting event held in the new showcase of the South.

The impact on the northern Mississippi gaming community, if this fight follows as expected the successful pattern of previous matches, will be dramatic. "This was an incredible opportunity for Grand Casino and Caesars Entertainment to once again participate in bringing the excitement of a boxing event of this caliber to the Memphis area," said Jon Lucas, President of Caesars Entertainment Tunica Group. "We had a strong response from the earlier fights from our players and expect that to happen again."

The event is also a coup for Southaven-based Prize Fight Boxing who, in association with Square Ring, Inc., Goosen Tutor and Grand is presenting the event that will have nine under card fights as well. Promoter Brian Young and his brother, Russ, have propelled Prize Fight Boxing into the upper echelon of the boxing business and have managed to do so without the bombast and excess ego display that has come to represent professional boxing at its highest levels.

In fact, the press conference to introduce the two camps at Grand Casino recently was downright serene; no chair throwing, shoving, biting, or cussing was needed to hype the event and everybody was so verbally agreeable and considerate, a stranger wandering in might have thought it was a press affair for a figure skating contest.

"Big fight sponsorships is something that Caesars is comfortable with," said Brad Rhines, Vice President of Marketing & Player Development for Grand. "This attraction will bring in players from across the country and we will accommodate them at our three properties here. This event helps keep our brand out in front of the marketplace and it is a good association for us"

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, a big fight fan and a former Golden Glove boxer, was on hand and was extremely enthusiastic. He told Jackpot that the event "will bring strong recognition to the area and holding it in a fantastic facility like the new FedexForum will go a long way to presenting the city as a major player in the fight business. Addressing the media he was almost evangelistic in his short talk shouting with obvious excitement that "we love boxing, let's make it happen…Memphis is now a major fight venue in the USA."

In the main event scheduled for 12 rounds, Jones, 49-2, is coming off a loss and is expected to make up for that setback with a strong showing against Johnson, 40-9-2. With a strong KO record, Jones has 38 and Johnson, 27, the fight is expected to be a slugfest of the first order, as neither fighter is known to back off.

It is an important match for both fighters as Jones, a world champion for over a decade in four weight divisions, is returning to the ring for the first time since his upset loss to Anthony Tarver last May. He is the challenger. Johnson is a "hungry' fighter just now enjoying the fruits of a 11 ½ year pro career. This is the first time he'll enter the ring as a world champion defending his title.

In the week preceding the fight, both boxers are expected to make public appearances at Grand Casino.

Tickets are now on sale and range from $40 to $500 for ringside but 12,000 of the 18,000 seats are priced at $90 and under. They can be purchased at all TicketMaster locations and online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Rudi Schiffer

Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at audiovegas.com. A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com
Rudi Schiffer
Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at audiovegas.com. A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com