RENO (AP) — The Reno Air Races competition is getting a longer name in a nod to sponsors donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the event alive.
The Nevada Commission on Tourism on Wednesday christened the race “TravelNevada.com Reno National Championship Air Races and Air Show Presented by Breitling.”
The change comes after the tourism commission offered up a three-year, $600,000 sponsorship that will be paid by surplus room tax money.
Breitling is a watch company that has long sponsored the races and is contributing $200,000.
The sponsorships are an effort to keep the races going after a plane crash at last year’s event killed 11 people.
Some commissioners were reportedly concerned the name was too long, although it was unanimously approved.
“Yes, it’s a mouthful, but not what people expect to say in normal conversation,” said Commissioner Chris Baum, CEO of the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority.
“This is the written name as opposed to the verbal one,” he said. “They’ll still call it the Reno Air Races.”
Tourism Commissioner Ryan Sheltra, general manager of the Bonanza Casino in Reno, was among those who voiced concerns about the lengthened name. He said he supports getting “Nevada” in but added, “12 words and a dot.com, it seems like an awful lot. Try to make it all fit on a T-shirt.”
Sheltra said he was encouraged when Air Races CEO Michael Houghton assured him after the meeting the races will be marketed with shorter references on billboards soon to go up in the Reno-Sparks area.
“Everybody’s making too big a deal about the name,” Houghton said. “It’s simply a marketing partnership between the Air Races and the state. Most of our fans know it’s the Reno Air Races.”