Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shaq Vs a noisy casino

I felt little sorry for NBA Superstar Shaquile O’Neal as he searched for a working microphone during a press conference at Planet Hollywood last week.
O’Neal was at PH to promote an episode of his reality-type television show that challenges his athletic abilities in sports other than basketball.

So far he has been beaten by Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in volleyball and lost a football challenge against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Rothesberger. Soon he will be seen taking on Albert Pujols on the baseball diamond.
For this episode Shaq was in Las Vegas to take on semi-retired boxer Oscar de la Hoya in friendly, yet competitive boxing match.

When I received an e-mail regarding this press conference, I was mildly interested. It was curiosity that finally got the beast of me and I opted to RSVP and attend.

I would leave realizing that Planet Hollywood needs a course in planning a press conference.

I arrived minutes before the 12:30 p.m. scheduled time and followed the crowd to the center of the casino where a press table had been temporarily placed in small lounge area surrounded by card tables. Fans has already lined up in hopes of catching a glimpse of the newest member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. I flashed a business card and found a path to the press area and did my best to hold my spot among the small herd of reporters and a battery of video cameras. I took out my smartphone and began to twitter and post entries to Facebook and waited for de la Hoya and O’Neal to make their presence.

Lights behind the press table flashed on and off. Someone was testing the microphones. Release forms were passed out and filled since there was a chance that some reporters may be seen during the eventual broadcast of this particular episode of the new reality series “Shaq VS” on ABC.

De la Hoya showed up and was greeted with a few cheers. He took his seat didn’t seem to mind that he was not the center of attention this day.

After a few moments a loud cheer from the fans let everyone know that Shaq was on his way. He was not hard to spot. He stood out of the crowd in the same way a Hummer would stand out in lot full of Volkswagon Beetles.

It was obvious there were problems from the moment the MC stood at the podium to make the introductions. It was difficult to hear the introductions. The microphones did not work properly and even though O’Neal is a big guy, he does not have a loud voice. It was hard to hear his remarks.

De la Hoya was a bit easier to hear at time and he reminded the crowd of the time Bruce Lee defeated Kareem Abdul Jabbar in a well-know film — Game of Death.

I’m sure that the setting was selected to add to the glamour of a Las Vegas fight between two big names. Perhaps Planet Hollywood and ABC knew it was doing with the overly bright lights and constant clanging of gaming machines.
I have seen better presentations and acoustics at CES, G2E or many other trade shows at any of the convention centers in Las Vegas.
It remains to be seen if the press conference will look better on TV than in person. I will probably look for the episode just to see the final results.

Meanwhile the ratings have been questionable for Shaq Vs according to the Nielson ratings service.
In a Los Angeles Times report the debut of ABC's newest reality show, "Shaq Vs.," where Shaquille O'Neal tested his quarterback skills against Ben Roethlisberger, wasn’t a ratings hit. The show ranked fourth among programs that began at 9 p.m., with an average of 4.2 million viewers (292,000 average viewership in Los Angeles).

I actually saw the episode where Shaq took on May and Walsh on the sand courts of Hermosa Beach, Calif. The best part was seeing Shaq walking along the beach in pink speedos after losing to the Olympians.

I'll be checking the TV listings to see when the Las Vegas epsiode will be aired.