Driving through downtown Phoenix today, we thought to ourselves "hmmm, this city definitely needs a collection of giant, gaudy, lighted ads for things like Pepsi, and Doritos -- on par with places like Las Vegas and Times Square -- to line the sides of buildings near Chase Field." Actually we didn't -- because that would be an eyesore. But the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks think otherwise.
The D-Backs and the Suns unveiled today their plan to create the "Legends Entertainment District" in downtown Phoenix, right outside of the baseball and basketball stadiums.
Let's be clear: by "district," what the teams mean is they want a collection of giant, gaudy, lighted ads for things like Pepsi, and Doritos smack-dab in the middle of Phoenix in an attempt to replicate tourist destinations like Las Vegas and Times Square, with the hopes of cashing in on some ad revenue. City politicos, however, seem to think a bunch of lighted billboards will become "an attraction in itself."
"The new Legends Entertainment District, an attraction in itself, will help connect all the other downtown attractions, assuring visitors a more memorable and exciting downtown experience," Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon says. "Instead of heading home after a sporting event, concert or meal, visitors will want to stick around and continue enjoying downtown, thus bringing revenue to our city. This creative partnership is a win-win for all."
Because after being barraged with corporate ads during the game, spending a few hours standing out in front of the stadium staring at a Kodak sign is gonna really add to the experience -- not quite, Gordo.
The District extends from 1st Avenue to 7th Street and Washington to Jackson Streets, and promises "nearly 55,000 square feet of unique marketing opportunities with a blend of digital signage and custom large format super graphic static billboards including the largest signage available anywhere in the Phoenix Metropolitan area."
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According to Judd Norris, general manger of Legends Entertainment District, "the City of Phoenix has given us a blank canvas to work with."
Anyone who's been to New York City knows that similar attractions, like Times Square, can be somewhat impressive -- for about five minutes. Anyone who's lived in New York City knows places like that are annoying cluster-fucks you avoid at all costs.
If the District is successful, and becomes the downtown tourist destination the teams envision (which it won't), and you have someplace in that area that you need to be, good luck weaving through the bazillions of people staring at the (ahem) pretty lights while walking at a snail's pace.
And of course, no lighted-ad tourist destination is complete without 20 or 30 guys selling fake Rolexes...