Fall NFL fever is rampant, and this season will lead into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary next year. Viewing its precious artifacts once required a pilgrimage to Canton, Ohio, but thanks to a sports-loving entrepreneur in Las Vegas, the Strip is now a satellite for that hallowed hall and other institutions across the athletic spectrum.
Score!, billed as “the first-of-its-kind interactive sports experience in the country,” combines the museum aspects of a hall of fame with attractions that put the average person in the shoes of their sports heroes. The 10,000-square-foot venue will open inside the Luxor sometime in October, though the retail store is already in full swing.
Score! CEO Jim Beckmann spent more than two years traveling to various sports halls of fame and connecting with private collectors to form partnerships that have resulted in an unprecedented collection of memorabilia. In addition to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, featured partners include the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, National Hockey League, U.S. Soccer Federation, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Boxing Hall of Fame. Along with game-worn uniforms and championship hardware from trophies to rings, Score! is also featuring big-name athlete appearances and a live broadcasting suite, where the famous and their fans can both log time on camera.
When the attraction opens, guests will be able to test their athletic prowess mentally and physically, from going through the process of a fantasy contract to comparing their skills to the greats through exercises like handling a hockey stick on a mini rink, changing the tires of an authentic NASCAR vehicle, doing vertical basketball jumps, and baseball pitching for a speed gun.
Issued to guests at the beginning of the experience, iTouch devices will ensure they receive messages throughout, challenging them to make the kinds of decisions faced by pro athletes. At the end, their responses will be scanned and interpreted into career assessments that could result in Hall of Fame induction or being released by a team. The idea is to give them as authentic a feel for the life of a professional athlete as possible. Admission is: $28 general; $35 MVP Package; $50 Season Tickets. Locals gets discounts, and kids 12 and younger are $15. Guests can register online or like Score! on Facebook for insider offers and invitations to special events.
Looking ahead to the October grand opening, which hasn’t been finalized, Beckmann was kind enough to answer some of our burning questions about Score!
Why anchor this attraction on the Strip?
The special thing about Las Vegas is, not only does it draw 40 million tourists annually, many of the residents moved here from cities that host major league sports as part of their communities, where families grow up cheering on their teams and the heroes that play for them. This combined with the ironic fact that Las Vegas—unlike any other city which does not have a major league team—is America’s leader in sports tourism, with millions traveling here to celebrate and watch the special events around our favorite sports and teams year-round.
What would you say are the crown jewels in Score!’s collection of artifacts, and how often will the collection change?
To start, we will have on display over 200 artifacts … All of our artifacts have been rarely seen and never before been merged into one fantastic presentation. Some highlights include the Heisman Trophy, World Series trophies, Super Bowl and other championship rings, and yes, the 1999 World Cup won by the ladies soccer team when they beat China—the only one in North America. Other highlights include actual game-worn equipment and jerseys over the last 100 years, ranging from Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson to Troy Aikman and Mia Hamm, from Wayne Gretzky to Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Mike Tyson, as well as today’s greats—keeping it both historical yet modern for both kids and adults. The collection will routinely change and be expanded based upon guest feedback.
Regarding the interactive experience, I’m curious about the “agent” guests can sign with. Are they actors modeled on icons of the industry?
No. We do not use actors. You cannot fool the public, and having actors loses the authenticity we are looking for. In advance of fans taking their tour, we first have displays that showcase the business of sports. From contracts, endorsements and negotiations, we give a taste of what it’s like to be the sports superstar trying to get that big deal with their favorite team. Later, all fans are able to enter into their own sports fantasy contract. Everything from how much money they want to make, what city, what endorsement deal and so on is available via a Jerry Maguire-style sports interactive. Fans learn on the spot how they fared and are able to post to their Facebook or Twitter account their actual press release for all their friends back home to see. There’s a lot more to the storyline ... consider this just a starter.
Assuming you’ve tried the athletic tests, how fast can you pitch and change a tire?
I have gone through all of the interactives, and let’s just say I’m going to enjoy watching our guests test themselves against the pro athletes more than looking at my personal scores! The interactives are wide-ranging and optional for all guests (do as little or as much as they like), include a football combine, pit stop challenge, hockey stick handling drill and many more, narrated by Sports Emmy Award-winner John Brenkus from The Perfection Point. All mental and physical interactives are explained by the sports science founder as to why each exercise is important, allowing guests to have fun and compare how they do versus the pros.
What is the appeal of the broadcast center to the average guest?
The broadcast studio for the average guest is also the primary area for our athlete signings and where guests can cast for a sports commercial tied to our sponsors during the course of the year. It’s also where, when working with national known TV and radio anchors, guests can also make a video or radio clip, which they can take home to add to their legendary experience.
Are special appearances by pro athletes planned in conjunction with the grand opening?
There will be a separate announcement tied to the grand opening and red carpet festivities with many recognizable faces across the sports world.