Vegas Gang #95 – August 22nd, 2013

This time on the show:

– Our VIMFP Interview Guest Announcement: Seth Schorr of Fifth Street Gaming
– Nut Butter
Grandissimo Kickstarter Success
– Versace in China
– The Palms Updates Facilities
– Las Vegas Newspaper Implosion
Downtown Grand
– Wynn Internet Licensing in NJ

and more. Leave comments here on the site!

** Reminders **

VIMFP 2013 @ The D Las Vegas

Grandissimo on Kickstarter


Viva Vegas on Flipboard

** Sure Bets **

Chuck – Kickstarter, bro
Dr. Dave – Kickstarter
Hunter – Collision 2012

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6 thoughts on “Vegas Gang #95 – August 22nd, 2013

  1. Mike _ch Memorial Long Comment Alert:

    Great show, as usual. You guys efforts make America a better place. Never forget that.

    First, let me make clear that I am a big fan of Brian Greenspun. I think his ideas and efforts in the early part of this century were visionary and would have established his (and his family’s) legacy as worthy heirs of the mantle of their father, and one of the great leaders in the communications industry and American society. But…when the bottom fell out of his economy he was shown to be greatly overextended and the family lost something like 80-90% of their wealth. From billionaires to millionaires. Poof.

    I think Greenspun has retrenched, and is still being surprised and forced to re-retrench. Almost daily, it seems. In reality, I don’t think the Sun has been an economic benefit to the family since the late 1970s; as their land development, cable TV system and TV station became big forces in the region. But it did give them a platform to be a prominent voice in any discussion regarding the region. And many times national and international issues, as well. I think that Brian Greenspun has carried his father’s belief that the Sun is the foundation of all their success and it is to be kept at any cost. And there is something more important and special about being a newspaper editor/publisher than a web site and leaflet company operator. I don’t think his siblings have the same level of love for the newspaper business.

    I’m guessing that operates profitably and pays for all the local newsroom operations. I’m guessing that the Sun newspaper pays for the comic strips and the editorials and columns from other cities. Since it seems that all the local content in the paper has run on .com a day or more earlier, I’m assuming it is charged to the web site 100%. A wild guess would be that the true cost of operating the Sun paper, in it’s current configuration, is about $300,000 a year. That would mean the paper gains about $1 million a year from the JOA. If true, this would be something that must gall the R-J ownership no end in these difficult times for the print business, and would be their reason to seek to end the agreement. Of course, that wouldn’t explain the Greenspuns interest.

    I wonder what the value of is? R-J owner Stephens Media currently owns it and leases it to Greenspun Media, who then sub leases it to the LVCVA, if I understand the structure correctly. I recall Stephens tried to make it a portal for all things Las Vegas and failed miserably. Seems like most of their Internet activities are not strong and print is their area of expertise. Stephens is giving to the Greenspuns as part of the JOA dissolution and I think it’s the main part of the agreement. I haven’t seen anything else in the reports of the agreement that seem to have enough value to make it work for the Greenspun family.

    It sure seems like the print version of the Sun is on it’s way out. It is just a matter of time, regardless of this latest issue. 8 pages of local features, editorials and New York, Washington and Los Angeles columnist reprints don’t seem like anything special. But I sure read every word when I am in Las Vegas! Go figure. I think Brian Greenspun needs to recognize the inevitable, give up the print edition, regroup around the web site and a weekly paper in the same size as their Las Vegas Weekly. I’m 55 years old, a huge newspaper fan, but I no longer have a special attraction to newsprint versions. I now prefer to read them on my iPad or any other electronic format. This is one time I think I am the wave of the future (old people going electronic) and the sooner the Las Vegas Sun goes all in for that format, the farther ahead of the competition they will be.

  2. SJM had a monopoly on Macao gaming for so long, but they haven’t moved on from the old guys in smokey rooms since the megaresort era began there, so it’s certainly interesting to see them now trying to compete with LVS, Wynn etc.

    Do you guys have any thoughts on the Macao companies starting to diversify their opeartions? Melco, are developing a property in Manilla’s ‘Entertainment City’ area, while Lawrence Ho has announced investment in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

  3. Seems to me that the path Schorr is taking is admirable. He has worked his way up from the bottom IMO. With the Opera House, Silver Nugget and Lucky Club, he is at the working class level. We went into the Lucky Club during our early July trip. I was impressed with how nice and clean it was. It was clearly aware of it’s blue collar base, so it wasn’t the Wynn, or anything. But I thought it was nicer than the Wildfires I’ve been in and maybe better than Arizona Charlie’s Decatur.

    I think the sky is the limit for Schorr and it will mean something when we tell people 25 years from now that we met him when he was a little guy. After the Downtown Grand, then it’s off to the LVH, Riviera, and later, the TropiHooters will be thrust in front of him. At that point Steve Wynn will ask him to partner up on the Frontier site and he will be on the Cover of Forbes in a story titled “The Savant Of The Strip-How Everyone Wants To Be, Or Be With, Seth Schorr!”

    One thing I do want to know is how Schorr & co. got the timeshare tower of the Lady Luck to give up? I have always heard that when a property goes timeshare it is almost impossible to go back, because every owner of a share is considered a real estate owner.

  4. Re: The Las Vegas Sun

    I have no idea what the existing editorial staffing is but I know that internet revenue is only about 13% of internet advertising. I doubt that the Sun currently makes money. That is why I think the majority of the family wants out. The Graham family just bailed in Washington, for god’s sake.

    Sp I think the print version dies and the Greenspan’s keep a community voice with a website. But the RJ has a lot more editorial feet on the ground and will probably crush it financially.
    But given the trouble newspapers have had in picking up internet advertising I don’s see them being a major player editorially or in the advertising market.

  5. Sorry, typo, line 2 should read:

    internet revenue is only about 13% of all newspaper advertising.

  6. bob-
    I agree that most newspaper sites generate a small percentage of the total ad revenue for the company, but I think that the Sun site is different in that the web content is much more of a complete regional information site than the print Sun, which IMO is a section of day old features. I recall almost all the stories running in the print Sun have been on the internet on one of the Greenspuns other imprints, or, in some cases, ran in print in the Las Vegas Weekly or Vegas INC. I just feel that the print Sun is a last-ditch effort to remain in the news-PAPER business.

    I also feel that is the best example of comprehensive news and information for a city or region. In this case it’s Las Vegas. The site may have plenty of fluff content (bikini shots and gossip stories, etc) but any comprehensive news source will have some of that. It gets eyeballs and mouse clicks, right? Stories like that will get much more global interest than the news of why neighborhood recycling is going from weekly to biweekly. But those stories are what makes a local news source. I think the news buzzphrase is hyper-local, but I think they have are just repackaging the basic reason newspapers, or local news websites exist; provide more, and better, information about your area than any other source.

    I can’t figure out the net-net about the mechanics of the deal. Looks like the Greenspuns are currently paying Stephens Media $1.2 million a year when all is said and done ($2.5 mil/year paid out for the use of and $1.3 mil/year back from the JOA). This makes me try to figure out of it is worth giving up $1.2 mil/year to the Stephens to be rid of the Sun, or saving paying $1.2 mil/year by the Greenspuns is worth giving up the Sun newspaper, and dumping the foundation of the family name?

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