Atlantic City Strives to Become the Mega-Show Capital of the World
As Atlantic City works to reinvent itself and draw more visitors, some are suggesting the town try to brand itself as the new “Mega-show” capital of the nation – after back-to-back music festivals this month – featuring the bands Phish and Metallica – drew a combined 52,000 fans – with no significant violence or disruptions.
For the past several years, Atlantic City has seen casino revenues decline – and tourism numbers drop – in part, because visitors didn’t feel safe.
Dr. Israel Posner, the Executive Director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at the Richard Stockton College, says “the mega-events get mega-publicity … you have the mega-event, which draws the mega-crowd, but you also have ongoing programs, ongoing shows and entertainments that really makes up a base…everyone knows there’s gambling in AC, but having these mega-concerts helps to reshape the town’s image…it’s broader than entertainment – it’s really everything you think about when you think about a lifestyle resort, 2- or 3-day getaway.”
He says as more and more states allow all different kinds of gambling “there’s no way to differentiate a destination by asserting that you are a full casino – Las Vegas doesn’t do that anymore and nor does Atlantic City…this is about entertainment and a getaway destination – being a casino – and promoting yourself as a casino is like saying you’re a bowling alley- so what?..the mega-event creates mega-publicity – and therefore the Atlantic City name is out front of a large market…it puts Atlantic City in the mind of the leisure traveler for reasons other than gaming.”
So far there’s no word of additional concerts with big-name bands in Atlantic City, but many tourism officials are hoping that turns out to be the case.