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AVN Awards Switch to Mandalay Bay Arena

Las Vegas [/vegasblog.latimes.com] – Yesterday, I was blogging about some of the unique ways Las Vegas and the adult film business mingle here. For example, most weeks adult stars host parties and events at resort nightclubs on the Strip. Numerous adult films are taped here, and we have a substantial number of porn stars living in the Las Vegas Valley. There is also the wonderful erotic dance show, “The Fashionistas,” at the Aladdin that is based on an epic porn film of the same name.

But the most high-profile adult industry event in Vegas, by far, is the AVN Awards that takes place here every January. Dubbed the adult Oscars, the event has been held at a Venetian banquet room since 2000. But now it is moving to the far larger Mandalay Bay Events Center and actively marketing tickets to the general public for the first time. My guess is that this is going to be a huge success, based on the lines of people at the Venetian, four deep, who I saw show up last year just to watch the invited guests walk into the banquet hall for the AVN Awards. Yesterday I spoke to AVN President, Paul Fishbein about the switch:

Q: So, why the move to Mandalay Bay?

A: The truth is that we outgrew the ballroom at the Venetian. We were able to get about 4,200 people in that room. But it was a flat ballroom and so people about halfway back couldn’t see and had to watch the stage on big screens, and I felt bad. Sometimes the event outgrows the venue and we needed something with a little more warmth and a little more seating. Mandalay Bay had been talking to us for awhile but I am very loyal to the Venetian. We do our trade show there. But at Mandalay Bay even though it is so much bigger, every seat is a great seat. It can hold about 7,000 people in that little arena and we know we can fill it. So, we thought we would give it a shot.

Q: The advertising says that tickets will be sold to the public for the first time, but hasn’t that always been the case?

A: If they were kind-of an insider. The truth was that over 80% of the room was industry. Though, yeah, you could buy them if you knew how to or could figure it out. But now we have tickets available to the public through Ticketmaster. Before, every seat was $250, and now people can buy a seat for as low as $100.

Q: Do you think having the public invited will change the character of the AVN Awards?

A: No. It will still be more than 50% industry. I went to the Grammy Awards and there was a lot of public and it was a great event. I think the fans add something to it. Our obligation is to make the show more exciting, more entertaining and put a lot more into it. We are trying to make it more spectacular while still serving the industry.

Q: Final question: Anything about this upcoming show you want to highlight?

A: There is a bunch of amazing stuff we haven’t signed yet. We have some major talent and major entertainment. There are a couple of major rock acts that have yet to be signed and to mention them would probably be bad luck. I’ll know for sure in about three weeks.

Q: So, I can check back with you in a few weeks?

A: Sure.

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