NY-NY set for ‘Zone-ing’

Jul 17, 2001 6:56 AM

   Unofficially, ESPN Zone is “en fuego.”

   The trademark expression hangs over the kitchen area at the sports and entertainment network’s seventh Zone, located at New York-New York.

   “This sight was chosen because we felt it was the perfect setting,” said Paula Pettit, ESPN Zone’s marketing director. “New York-New York and Mirage MGM embraced the partnership. We are glad to be here.”

   The official opening of the Las Vegas site is Friday, but the public has been able to visit the facility since last week. The early returns, according to Pettit, are very favorable.

   “People really seem to love it here,” Pettit said. “There is so much for kids and adults to do. We are family-oriented and capable of hosting SportsCenters and other live broadcasts. I think this will be a hub for athletes when big events are in Las Vegas.”

   Other ESPN Zones are located in New York, Washington D.C, Baltimore, Anaheim, Chicago and Atlanta. Orlando has an ESPN restaurant-bar.

   There will be private VIP party this Thursday, prior to the official opening. Among the honorees will be former heavyweight champion Buster Douglas, Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda and Olympic gold medalists Nadia Comaneci (gymnastics) and Rulon Gardner (Greco-Roman wrestling).

   “The theme centers on athletes, who have beaten the odds,” Pettit said. “Lasorda is being cited for leading the Olympic baseball team to the gold medal. Comaneci is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her perfect 10 score.”

   Grand Master Flash will supply the music and a fireworks display at the Brooklyn Bridge is also planned.

   The official opening will showcase the Zone’s screening room, which features two giant 14-foot screens. There will also be 12 additional monitors, along with leaderboards that supply up-to-the-minute stats and trivia.

   “The screening room is sure to be a real popular place,” Pettit said. “We also have booths with monitors on the tables. The monitors have surround-sound and Internet capabilities.”

  The “Zone Thrones” consist of 11 leather recliners with control panels built into the armrests, allowing customers to control the audio from the various telecasts being shown on the monitors.

  “There is also a swivel top for cocktails and dining,” Pettit said. “Everything is first come, first serve. We take no reservations, so it’s best to get here early.”

   The Zone also has commissioned artists contributing works relating to famous Las Vegas events and celebrities, such as Andre Agassi, Oscar De La Hoya, UNLV’s NCAA championship men’s basketball team and the famous Hagler-Hearns fight.

   “These works are unique and all are done with the standard ESPN tongue-in-cheek twist,” Pettit said.

   Upstairs is a 9,000 square-foot area for interactive games, along with an upscale bar and a lounge area.

   “All our games are sports-related and developed for ESPN Zone,” Pettit said. “We have football, basketball, virtual boxing, auto racing, miniature bowling, fishing, wave runners, Harley-Davidsons, snowboarding, air hockey and Âí­skiing.”

   There are ESPN souvenir shops and over 150 monitors in the Zone, including a dozen in the restrooms.

   “You’ll never miss a play,” Pettit said. “Las Vegas is really going to enjoy this place.”