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Vegas Tourism Plans 'Road' Trip

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LOS ANGELES Clear Channel Entertainment Properties said today it has teamed with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on a 10-stop concert tour to promote the city's 100th birthday celebration.

The interactive "Road to Vegas" event, described as "Vegas in a venue," by Michael McGaw, managing director of national accounts for Houston-based CCEP, is set to kick off May 27 in San Francisco. In each city, CCEP plans to transform one 1000- to 1,500-seat concert hall into a "hip Vegas nightspot," McGaw said.

The concerts' headlining act is rock group Collective Soul, but people will be "coming to have an experience, not just see a band," according to McGaw.

"You can't duplicate the Vegas experience completely," he admitted. Still, CCEP will make an elaborate effort: In addition to live music, the 21-and-over shows feature lavish gaming lounges, showgirls and Vegas-icon impersonators, McGaw said. Venues would be decked out like the Strip at night, in "a ton of neon."

Along with providing access to musical talent and tour-production capabilities, the LVCVA's relationship with CCEP is designed to "build powerful brand connections" between Las Vegas and event attendees across the country, McGaw said. "People should walk away feeling as if they've actually been in Vegas."

If all goes according to plan, that feeling will inspire 21- to 40-year-old concert-goers—an important Vegas tourist demo—to visit the city during its yearlong centennial bash. It's also meant to foster interest in a major Las Vegas concert celebration CCEP has planned for the weekend of July 4. The music lineup has yet to be announced, but McGaw said the event would definitely require at least a 35,000-seat venue.

A radio, alt-weekly print and poster campaign launches in mid-May, McGaw said. A budget was not disclosed, but McGaw said that his company's campaign spend would be "a little bit bigger than normal."

Along with the LVCVA, "Road to Vegas" lead sponsors are Beaulieu Vineyard Wines and Gibson Guitars.

Ads and street team marketing efforts will run in tour cities (Phoenix, Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Francisco) through June 29. Promotional work also includes a "Road to Vegas" Web site, featuring event-sponsor links and contests, a sweepstakes on behalf of the July 4 weekend concert and Collective Soul's latest CD,Youth, in its entirety.