Atlantis hosts local sports journalists to ‘Fight Night’
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Sep 16, 2013
In an effort to build a stronger relationship with the local sports media, with its signature sports event on the horizon, the Atlantis public relations department hosted eight members of the fraternity to a ‘fight night’ special this past Saturday.
The eight sports personalities – yours truly Sheldon Longley from the Guardian News Network, Marcellus Hall from Sports Radio, Gerrino Saunders from Jones Communications, Eddie Carter from Island FM, Brent Stubbs from The Tribune and Chris Saunders, Charles Fisher and Julian Gibson from the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas – were all treated to a night’s stay at the world famous resort, inclusive of dinner at Virgil’s Real BBQ Restaurant, and breakfast at the newly renovated Starbucks Coffee in Coral Towers. The featured attraction was certainly the Floyd Mayweather/Canelo Alvarez fight though, which was seen at the Las Vegas style Atlantis Race and Sports Book. The newly constructed facility, which is powered by Cantor Gaming, is adjacent to the Atlantis Casino and just downstairs from the Aura night club.
“It was a big fight, and we just saw an opportunity to really and truly improve our relationship with sports journalism here in The Bahamas, and journalism on the whole,” said Eric Hall, public relations manager of Atlantis. “Sports is a big part of our overall program and strategy here at Atlantis. This weekend was an opportunity to spend some time with you sports journalists and get you more familiar with our setting here at Atlantis, and also to have some fun in the process.”
The Atlantis Race and Sports Book features a state-of-the-art LED video wall, spanning 67 feet and providing over 500 square feet of viewing pleasure. There could be as much as 20 simultaneously HD video feeds. For attendees, there are 44 personal betting stations and six VIP betting stations. There is also an avenue for mobile sports wagering, as the resort destination vies to continue re-defining the gaming industry here in The Bahamas.
“We recognize the power of sports and the power of gaming,” said Hall on Saturday night. “A decision was made a few years ago to target college sports, not just because of the fanfare and the publicity that surrounds it, but also because of the tremendous opportunities they present to our young people. It’s an avenue for the youth of this country, and a level that we want them to aspire to get to.
“We’ve turned the Battle 4 Atlantis event into something that is good for the hotel and something that is good for the community. It’s huge for fans of college basketball, and sports fans in general. Why not come to The Bahamas? Why not come to paradise? Why not come to Atlantis? This is an environment where you could come to The Bahamas, watch the games and enjoy all the amenities of Atlantis at the same time. Our guests can enjoy the slides; there’s amazing dining and amazing gaming. On top of that, it’s a family setting. You can bring the entire family and watch your favorite college team play. You can’t beat that,” he added.
Atlantis’ signature sports event, the Battle 4 Atlantis, is a Kerzner International owned and operated pre-season college basketball tournament, featuring some of the best men’s college basketball teams in the United States. The games are played in the Imperial Arena, a grand ballroom which is converted into a basketball venue. In just its brief three year-history, it is already the richest National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men’s pre-season college basketball tournament. Schools are awarded $2 million in exchange for their participation in the event.
This year’s tournament, which is scheduled for Thanksgiving week, November 28-30, will feature teams such as Kansas, Wake Forest, Villanova, the University of Southern California, Tennessee and Xavier.
“We’re looking forward to the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament that is rapidly approaching, and once again we look to have sports journalists here in the country engaged again,” said Hall. “Sports is the new phenomenom in our society, and it is always a fun and exciting endeavor. We feel that our Battle 4 Atlantis package is going to be big for sports not just here at Atlantis, but for the entire country and in the U.S. as well. We have thousands of visitors who are already committed to coming, and the field of teams is just tremendous, probably the best pre-season field that we have assembled.”
The Duke Blue Devils won the tournament last year, and Harvard prevailed in 2011.
The Battle 4 Atlantis event is just one of the many sports tourism bonanzas at the resort, and on Paradise Island, since the turn of the century. Atlantis first delved into the industry with the staging of the Michael Jordan Celebrity Golf Invitational which continued for 10 years but is now discontinued; the Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational is held on an annual basis at the resort, and in May, the inaugural Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic was staged at the Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island.
As for the Mayweather/Alvarez fight on Saturday night, Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather dominated the 23-year-old Mexican for all 12 rounds. Mayweather won by majority decision, 116-112, 117-111, and shockingly 114-114. With the win on Saturday night at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mayweather, 36, unified the junior middleweight world titles.
Mayweather, who is now undefeated through 45 fights, proved that he is undoubtedly the best pound-for-pound fighter of this era. He earned a guaranteed record purse of $41.5 million, while Alvarez, whose contract called for $5 million, is expected to get more in the $12 million range.