LAS VEGAS -- Start spreadin' the news.
Officials representing the newest ESPN Zone, which is scheduled
to open in July at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino here,
want the world to know that the sports-themed dining and
entertainment complex has meeting space as well as games.
"Word is getting out [about the restaurants' capability to host
groups] as we open more and more units across the U.S.," said Don
Gross, director of sales for Burbank, Calif.-based Disney Regional
Entertainment, a division of Walt Disney Co., which owns and
operates the ESPN Zone chain.
"Once groups come in and experience what we offer, from how the
facility is designed to how incredible our culinary displays are,
According to Gross, the company's group business began, more or
less, as an accident, stemming from ESPN's live broadcasts from the
chain's first restaurant in Baltimore, which opened in July
"We started getting inquiries about the place, and all of a sudden
we had companies wanting to buy out the Screening Room [area]," he
Now, nearly three years later, this niche "definitely has
evolved," Gross said. "As our business has matured, so has our
"In [Washington], D.C., we do a lot of student groups," he
added. "In Las Vegas, the convention market is going to be
extremely strong for us, while in Chicago, it's the convention plus
the local corporate markets. We target anything from student groups
to corporations to conventions. It just depends on the market."
From the company's beginning, ESPN Zone officials have had their
eye on Las Vegas as a potential market "because of the city's
incredible amount of tourism, its booming local economy and its
passion for sports and sports history," said Randall Baumberger,
vice president and general manager of Disney Regional
"We were just looking for the right property, the right fit,
which we believe we have found with New York-New York," Baumberger
"We have fantastic visibility there."
The 33,000-square-foot Las Vegas venue will be a two-story
structure marked by entrances on Las Vegas Boulevard and in New
York-New York's casino.
Inside, the facility will include several distinct rooms or
areas that, separately or combined, can accommodate groups ranging
in size from 20 people to 1,000 people, Gross said.
Groups have the option of renting out the entire restaurant or
just using some of its rooms, he added.
The Studio Grill, whose menu usually features -- what else? -- food
fresh from the grill, can seat up to 115 people or handle 175
The Screening Room, with two 14-foot television screens and a
dozen 36-inch video monitors, will offer tiered seating for those
who want to watch more than one sporting event at once.
The room also will offer a dozen Zone Thrones, leather reclining
chairs that have speakers in the headrests.
For meeting purposes, the room can seat up to 100 people or
accommodate 150 people reception-style.
The Skybox, which usually functions as an exclusive VIP
reception area, can accommodate 10 to 15 people.
The SportsCenter Bar can handle up to 50 people and features a
video wall, while the Trophy Lounge also can seat up to 50 people
or fit 75 people reception-style.
The restaurant will include the Bristol Suite, a private dining
and reception area that can seat up to 50 people and accommodate
receptions of up to 70 people.
Perhaps what will be one of the most popular areas is the
10,000-square-foot Sports Arena, which will offer a variety of
interactive games such basketball (there will be a half-length
basketball court), rock climbing (there will be a rock wall) and
simulated motorcycle racing (there will be Harley-Davidsons).
According to Gross, this area can hold from 150 to 200
"We really try to involve all of our groups with the arena," he
"Groups like that they can dine downstairs and then go upstairs
to enjoy [this] area. People who wouldn't normally get into this
type of thing go nuts up there. They're on the rock walls, on the
"The arena adds a unique dynamic to what could be just another
The restaurant's audiovisual offerings are nothing to sneeze at,
All told, the Las Vegas location will feature more than 165
television monitors a well as production capabilities for both
radio and TV programs and videoconferences with other ESPN Zones
and ESPN Studios in Bristol, Conn.
"[At other ESPN Zone locations], companies come in and do
breakfast meetings, they utilize the multimedia [capabilities],"
Gross said. "We've hosted PowerPoint presentations and, in New
York, we've done fashion shows."
The Las Vegas facility will be the seventh ESPN Zone opened
Other locations include Atlanta; Anaheim, Calif.; Baltimore;
Chicago; New York, and Washington.
For more information about the Las Vegas ESPN Zone, contact
sales manager Andrea Rice by phone at (702) 933-3776 or by fax at