SI Moving Swimsuit Issue Release Party To Vegas

Sorry, David Letterman - you’ve been trumped by Vegas. For the last two years, the “Late Show” host has been lucky enough to make the official announcement of which lovely lady would be gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue. (For those who need a refresher, it was Marisa Miller in 2008 and Bar Refaeli in 2009.)

Marisa Miller Bar Refaeli SI swimsuit covers

Well, the suits over at SI decided that their big bikini-based announcement needed more pizazz than just Paul Shaffer on keyboards, so they’re taking their swimsuit show out west - to Vegas!

SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL (subscription required) reports that the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau has signed a 3-year, “mid-seven-figure” deal to bring the official SI swimsuit issue launch to Sin City. And what organizers have in mind is a two- to three-day gala of activities & events - probably without any stupid pet tricks.

As SI CMO Andrew Judelson explains:

“Our idea was to act like a league awarding an all-star game and place swimsuit launch in a specific city and make the whole experience something we can package and sell.”

As long as the SI models arrive unarmed & aren’t tempted to make it rain, then things should run smoothly.

But it appears that the SI swimsuit showcase is one more attempt by the city of Las Vegas to present itself as a major league city. Despite the various problems of the 2007 NBA All-Star Weekend, the NHL wasn’t so frightened to move their annual awards show to Vegas - and NASCAR will soon be doing the same. And convincing SI, NASCAR & the NHL to come to town could convince other leagues to set up shop locally:

“You’ll see a big league team there within five years,” said former NFL Properties President John Bello. “There aren’t that many growth markets left and it’s more a function of overcoming negative association with gambling than anything else.”

And what better way to accelerate that growth than by having a bunch of bikini-clad models in town? Who wouldn’t love to run into Bar over at Bally’s?

Bar Refaeli

Or Marisa “lion” around at the MGM?

Marisa Miller

Or Brooklyn Decker checking out New York New York?

Brooklyn Decker

Or Maria Kirilenko serving court at the Mirage?

Maria Kirilenko