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Clear Channel, Vegas Partner for Poker Initiative

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LOS ANGELES Brand-positioning division Clear Channel Entertainment Properties has teamed with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to play a potentially trendsetting new hand: the first Vegas Rock Star Poker Tournament and Sweepstakes, to be held Aug. 26-28 at the Palms Casino Resort.

Interest in poker has surged since 2003, thanks in part to frequent game broadcasts on ESPN and the Travel Channel. Add rock stars to the mix, and "it's a natural key-in on the demo which Vegas is after," said CCE-P vp and managing director Mike McGaw. Owned by Clear Channel Entertainment, the CCE-P division markets the company's network of venues, special events and TV production services, among other assets.

Targeting a mostly male, 25- to 40-year-old demographic, the sweepstakes offers 16 contestants the chance to win $10,000 by playing "hold 'em"-style poker with guitarist Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers), drummer Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) and vocalist-guitarist John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls). Players will be selected at random via the tournament's official Web site and from radio promotions in six LVCVA feeder markets, which are expected to generate huge leads for both the LVCVA and the Palms. "It's a really fun way for the artists to expose themselves to customers and consumers," said McGaw.

Las Vegas-based agency R&R Partners, which represents the LVCVA, created a series of ads to promote the contest, including live and prerecorded radio spots and Web banners scheduled to run on Clear Channel's alternative and rock radio stations and Web sites, respectively. Print ads will appear in magazines such as Blender and Rolling Stone. McGaw said the ad strategy "falls out of the LVCVA branding campaign, 'What happens here stays here,' " also created by R&R Partners.

The $265 million Palms property "really fits with the theme," McGaw added. With its rooftop Ghostbar and penthouse suite prominently featured on programs such as MTV's Real World: Las Vegas, The WB's Jamie Kennedy Experiment and Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, the resort has garnered a voguish reputation among a 30-something hipster crowd. Although "hold 'em" poker is considered a TV-friendly game, there are no plans to televise the event, CCEP reps reported.