Monday, May 19, 2008
This is why you read this blog.
Way, way back on December 17, you read here the first inkling that the central 4,000-room hotel-casino of CityCenter might come to be known as ARIA. At the time, MGM Mirage Chief of Design and Construction Bobby Baldwin disclosed to me that it was a name the brass loved but that they couldn't wrestle free the trademarks.
Evidently, that logjam was broken sometime in the past seven weeks. As recently as late March, MGM Mirage Chairman and CEO Terry Lanni told me in an interview for The New York Times that we aired on "The Strip" on April 17 that naming the hotel was "one of the most frustrating things" he'd dealt with in his career.
I guess in the three weeks between when I spoke to Lanni and when we posted that interview, the matter was resolved. It's not unprecedented; Steve Wynn bought the name "Mirage" from more than one proprietor in Vegas including from what then became known as the Glass Pool Inn.
As the screenshot of the trademark filing above shows, they got their wish on April 11. Some further digging showed that as of April 15, MGM Mirage took ownership of the Internet domain name AriaVegas.com and AriaLV.Com. On May 1, they grabbed AriaHotelCasino.Com. I spoke today with the owner of AriaLasVegas.com, a Las Vegas man who bought the domain on Sept. 29, 2007. That's pretty prescient timing. He wouldn't discuss it his negotiations right now or how he might have known that it was a name under consideration.
I don't know if that logo above is in any way related to the resort's logo. I doubt it.
I asked Alan Feldman, the MGM spokesman, about the process. Why Aria?
"Interestingly enough, Aria was one of those names that came up early in the process. For a little while, we were focused on creating a new name, a new word. But the thing about Aria was, we kept coming back to it."
Like anything else in Vegas, it'll take some getting used to but is certainly workable. Remember how we scratched our heads at "Love"? Now it fits. Or THEhotel? Oh, wait. That one's still stupid.
My favorite Vegas name? Zumanity. I don't even like the show. I just like the name. What's yours?