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July 3, 2014: Dining Atop a Times Square Billboard, What It Takes to Maintain Wimbledon, Brands Plan Activations for Tour de France


1. FUND-RAISING PROMO PUTS DINERS ATOP A TIMES SQUARE BILLBOARD: MasterCard has teamed up with chef Marcus Samuelsson for its “Priceless Table” series, which will bring nightly dinners to the top of the H&M Times Square billboard this summer. More than a stunt, the nightly meals will raise money for Stand Up 2 Cancer through ticket sales, with the goal of raising $4 million for the nonprofit organization. The Daily Meal: “'I've had several people in my life diagnosed with cancer in the last few years so this issue really hits home,' chef Samuelsson told The Daily Meal. 'I thought it was a pretty clever idea to dine 25 feet above Times Square in the name of cancer research, and I'm looking forward to making a flavorful meal featuring the freshest and healthiest of ingredients.'” http://bit.ly/1mbdDYP

2. WHAT IT TAKES TO MAINTAIN WIMBLEDON: Ever wonder what it takes to prepare the courts for Wimbledon every day? There's a hawk, dogs, a staff of 32 groundskeepers and gardeners, and strawberry sorters. The rye grass in each court is mown to exactly eight millimeters each morning, spaniels and retrievers sniff out potential explosives, and Rufus the hawk is charged with shooing pigeons. Washington Post: http://wapo.st/1lW6UCJ

3. WHAT BRANDS HAVE PLANNED FOR TOUR DE FRANCE: Speaking of big events in Europe, the Tour de France's return to the United Kingdom is spurring experiential activations from brands, who are looking to use the world's biggest bike race as a platform to target local communities. MarketingWeek: “Mark Hodge, marketing director for McCain, says the strategy is about deepening its ties to local communities nationwide and that mass-market appeal is not an objective. While engagement and sales opportunities are not on the scale of events like the on-going World Cup, there are niche opportunities of intense shopper interest in and around the route, he adds. It is a thought not lost on Tour d France official sponsor Skoda, which is backing official UK Tour de France fan parks to facilitate more localised activations for its cycle range. Visitors to the fan parks can take part in a variety of onsite activities and competitions as well watch the race unfold on giant screens.” http://bit.ly/1s2isER

4. WORLD BOOK NIGHT TO END U.S. OPERATIONS: After three years, the organizers of World Book Night in the United States are ending the event due to lack of outside funding. Publishers Weekly: ”'The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, and shippers, are too high to sustain without additional outside funding,” [executive director Carl] Lennertz wrote. Lennertz noted that attempts to secure outside grants did not meet with success.” http://bit.ly/1m8nWgf

* LOCAL NEWS *

BOSTON:  Martha Stewart and chef Sarah Moulton will headline the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival in Rhode Island September 19-21. The two-day “Grand Tasting” event will offer samples of hundreds of wines, as well as fare from regional restaurants and caterers.

CHICAGO:  TechWeek drew some 12,000 attendees this year, and will return to Chicago in 2015 with new panels and summits, a “Fashion Tech” runway show, and other new elements.

LAS VEGAS:  Caesars Entertainment will turn the Quad Resort & Casino into the Linq Hotel & Casino, with 2,256 new rooms and suites, a signature lobby bar, new retail and spa amenities, and a new pool deck. Designed as the portal to the Linq Promenade, the property will open to guests October 30.

The Mob Museum will feature Cuba-theme programming in August with events known as “Hot Havana Nights.”

Tina Smith and Robyn Sprenger have joined MGM Resorts International as directors of global sales, overseeing sales efforts and account management for the Northeast region for all MGM Resorts destinations in Las Vegas, Biloxi and Tunica, Mississippi, and Detroit.

LOS ANGELES:  KCon, a K-pop concert and fan fest that last year drew more than 20,000, will take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena August 9-10 and include live debuts of Bangtan Boys, IU, and Jung Joon Young as well as rapper G-Dragon, pop act B1A4, rockers CNBLUE, and boy band Teen Top. Los Angeles Times: http://lat.ms/1s2687E

Local event listings from Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Kipling is hosting a grand-opening event at its store at the Miami International Mall July 12 that will include a performance from YouTube singer Megan Nicole.

NEW YORK:  The Red Bull Sound Select series is headed to Montauk this weekend, kicking off with a performance by electro-pop artist St. Lucia at the Surf Lodge.

At the Watermill Center's summer benefit on July 26, auctioneer Simon de Pury will lead the live auction, which will include a Robert Wilson video portrait of Lady Gaga. Artsy will host the online auction, which launches July 17, with 130 lots.

Local event listings from Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

SAN DIEGO:  On September 18 the Center for Community Solutions will host the 10th annual Chef Showdown at the San Diego Harley-Davidson showroom. The fund-raiser will include food and beverage tasting stations, a raffle, and silent and live auctions.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week is August 11-17. A printed and digital guide will list the more than 200 restaurants in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia expected to participate.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from BizBash.com.

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