By ALAN SNEL
So, what do you get when you bring together outside T-Mobile Arena a New Yorker who produced a prominent wheelchair tennis event, a 300-pound beer truck driver from Los Angeles who consumes 8,000 calories a day and a bond broker from Memphis, Tennessee?
You get pro sports’ newest professional league — the Ultimate Sumo League — making its debut at Park Theater at Monte Carlo casino-hotel near T-Mobile Arena in late April.
Yes, Las Vegas is fertile business turf for all types of new sports enterprises these days — from the headline-grabbing Vegas Golden Knights to the inaugural WNBA Las Vegas Aces and Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team.
But we saw a new side to sports entrepreneurship in Las Vegas Wednesday morning thanks to a few beefy guys in big g-strings.
New Yorker Noah Goldman, who is involved in fund-raising for sports and entertainment projects, has hatched this new sumo league that will debut by bringing together 16 sumo wrestlers for an event at Park Theater April 28.
Goldman will have 60 sumo wrestlers under contract to compete in events in the U.S. and around the world, with the Las Vegas sumo-palooza tickets starting at $59.50. LVSportsBiz.com caught up with Goldman Wednesday morning at the plaza outside T-Mobile Arena for an interview.
That LA beer truck driver who doubles as a 8,000 calorie-per-day sumo wrestler from LA is Dan Kalbfleisch, who helped put on a sumo wrestling demonstration at the plaza.
And the bond trader from Memphis is Robert Daniel, who will be the sumo wrestling matches’ commentator answer to UFC’s colorful-talking Joe Rogan.
“This is what UFC was like 22 or 23 years ago. There will be a learning curve,” Daniel said after describing the sumo demonstration performed by hefty wrestlers Kalbfleisch and Russian Soslan Gagloev.
UFC sold for more $4 billion. I have no idea what Ultimate Sumo League is valued at except to say it’s a whole lot less than $4 billion.
Goldman said the sumo wrestlers can make as much as $100,000 on the Ultimate Sumo League circuit, which will include American cities such as New York, Orlando, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. The foreign stops will be in places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, London and Paris.
LVSportsBiz.com appreciated some of the sports marketing techniques at play behind the start-up of the Ultimate Sumo League such as Kalbfleisch saying, “Sumo wrestlers have the coolest uniforms.”
And league president/CEO Goldman said the matches last 60-90 seconds, which is “perfect for the normal attention spans, which are short.” (Major League Baseball and the NFL could learn a thing or from sumo wrestling to shorten their matches that last 3 1/2 hours.)
And Daniel the bond broker, who noted he’s not giving up his day job quite yet, said the sumo competition has three great marketing assets: it’s violent but not brutal, it’s fast-paced (going back to the Goldman point) and it’s simple.
The sumo event in April is just the latest niche sport that enjoys Las Vegas, joining sports such as darts, three-sided handball and ping-pong as planting a competition stake in Sin City.
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