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February 13, 2018: Robots Compete in Olympics Ski Tournament, Peter Thiel Cancels SXSW Panel Discussion, N.F.L.'s Hospitality Business Garners $150 Million From Super Bowl

By Ian Zelaya February 13, 2018, 8:38 AM EST


1. ROBOTS COMPETE IN OLYMPICS SKI TOURNAMENT: As the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang show off South Korea’s robotics technology, an Olympics-adjacent event had robots compete in their very own ski race. The Verge: “In a tournament aptly called ‘Edge of Robot: Ski Robot Challenge,’ eight robotics teams from research universities, institutes, and a private company competed for a $10,000 prize to see which robot could ski down the slopes and race to the finish line the fastest while avoiding obstacles. The tournament took place at an 80-meter alpine skiing course at Welli Hilli Ski Resort, an hour away from the games in Pyeongchang. With record-low temperatures affecting robot functionality, many of the robots tumbled down through much of the course. Normally, this would have been devastating to watch with real athletes who have trained years for their big moments, but with robots donning child-sized outfits and skis, it was hilarious and endearing. To qualify, robots had to fit the requirements of a humanoid robot, such as being able to stand on two legs and having joints resembling elbows and knees. They also had to be a minimum of 50 centimeters tall, which is probably why the little fella that won was so short. Taekwon V, named after a Gundam-like robot from the eponymous Korean children’s cartoon, was the smallest of all the robots at just 75 centimeters tall.” http://bit.ly/2EDwZGS

2. PETER THIEL CANCELS SXSW PANEL DISCUSSION: Technology billionaire Peter Thiel has canceled his SXSW panel talk, which was slated to focus on his funding of lawsuits that led to the fall of Gawker Media. Variety: “Thiel had been scheduled to appear at the Austin, Texas, conference on March 10 in a discussion with writer and media strategist Ryan Holiday, author of the forthcoming book ‘Conspiracy’ about Thiel’s involvement in taking down Gawker. A rep for SXSW confirmed that Thiel ‘has dropped from SXSW, but we have no further information at this time.’ In 2016, Thiel was revealed to have funded wrestler Hulk Hogan’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit and two other suits against Gawker Media, which led to Gawker’s filing for bankruptcy and the sale of most of its assets to Univision Communications. Thiel, who said in a speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention that ‘I’m proud to be gay,’ remained upset about a 2007 Gawker article that reported he was gay. Thiel was Silicon Valley’s biggest booster of Donald Trump, having donated $1.25 million to Trump’s presidential campaign. Since Trump’s takeover of the White House, however, he has reportedly become disenchanted with the administration.” http://bit.ly/2F1dxla

3. N.F.L.'S HOSPITALITY BUSINESS GARNERS $150 MILLION FROM SUPER BOWL: On Location Experiences, the N.F.L.'s official hospitality business, generated $150 million in revenue from Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, which is four times more than Super Bowl 50. SportsBusiness Daily: “Much of that growth is 'tied to acquisitions, specifically PrimeSport, which was brought on board in December and rapidly integrated into On Location’s system.' The growth also “reflects the extra tickets On Location now controls—9,500 from the league office, plus a few thousand more through PrimeSport’s team relationships that are packaged with travel and entertainment, like concerts during Super Bowl week.' On Location 'managed five nights of entertainment, including performances by Pink and Jennifer Lopez, in Minneapolis.' On Location CEO John Collins said that the company also 'sold 4,500 hotel rooms and sold out all of its packages.' It handled 10 'tailgate parties, three postgame parties (for both Super Bowl teams and players) and chartered 11 flights for fans.' On Location, through experiential agency Kreate, also produced Super Bowl Live, which 'drew slightly more than 1 million people'." http://bit.ly/2Eqo7Fm

* LOCAL NEWS *

DALLAS/FORT WORTH:  Quest Events has named Al Dyess president and chief operating officer.  

LAS VEGAS:  The Drew Las Vegas, Las Vegas’s first Marriott Edition brand and first JW Marriott on the Strip, will open in 2020. The resort and casino will have nearly 4,000 guest rooms and more than 50,000 square feet of convention and meeting space. 

LOS ANGELES:  The Human Rights Campaign will host its annual Los Angeles Dinner on March 10 at the JW Marriott L.A. Live.

Kendrick Lamar will perform live from the N.B.A. on TNT American Express Road Show stage at Microsoft Square on February 16. 

Extraordinary Events has named Candice Moore account executive. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

NEW YORK:  Rooftop Films will host its second annual gala on Thursday at Saint Bartholomew’s Church. The event will honor The Florida Project director Sean Baker and Strong Island director Yance Ford. 

The 31st annual Tibet House U.S. Benefit Concert will take place March 3 at Carnegie Hall. The event will be headlined by Carly Simon, Philip Glass, and Blood Orange. 

Global events agency First has announced that C.E.O. Americas Maureen Ryan Fable has been promoted to C.E.O. Group; chief client officer Barry Richards has been promoted to C.E.O. Europe for 18 months; and managing director London Mark Riches will move to a non-executive director role. 

Southern restaurant Mr. White has opened on St. Mark’s. The restaurant, which has an interior that draws inspiration from Southern mansions, is helmed by managing partner Jeffrey White, marketing manager and partner Kelly Rheel, and executive chef and partner Andrew Dunleavy. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

TORONTO:  Wavelength Winter Festival, an indie music showcase, will take place Friday through Sunday at the Garrison. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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

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