The Barrett-Jackson collector-car auction and “lifestyle event” will be held in Connecticut next year, company chairman Craig Jackson announced today in Las Vegas. The inaugural sale will take place June 23-25, 2016, at the sprawling Mohegan Sun resort and casino in Uncasville.
This will be Barrett-Jackson’s first foray into the northeastern United States, which Jackson said is something that auction company customers have been seeking for some time. The addition of the Connecticut auction comes on the heels of the cancellation of Barrett-Jackson’s annual sale in Reno, Nevada, after a three-year stint.
The Mohegan Sun auction brings the company’s annual event calendar back to four, including the flagship Scottsdale auction in January, which turns 45 this year; the Palm Beach, Florida, event in April; and the Las Vegas auction at Mandalay Bay, which is being held this weekend and where Jackson made the announcement of the new venue.
“We’ve been working on this for a while, and all our partners love it,” Jackson said, referring to the television producers, automotive sponsors and auction customers. “This spreads us out – two on the West Coast, two on the East Coast.”
The size and grandeur of the Mohegan Sun, which includes three casinos and a huge 10,000-seat arena, was a deciding factor, Jackson said, after auction officials conducted a lengthy search for a facility in the northeast, including those in New York City.
“We wanted to go to the East Coast, it’s centrally located between Boston and New York, but the facility was the main reason why we chose Mohegan,” Jackson told Classic Car News. “It’s very much like Mandalay Bay, where we are at right now, though it’s a little bigger on the floor.”
The Mohegan Sun is similar in layout to Mandalay Bay, he added, with a broad selection of restaurants, shops, one of the world’s largest gaming floors and a 1,200-room hotel tower. The resort is set on 185 acres of the Mohegan tribal community in a scenic area along the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut.
“It really is a destination and we can build a true Barrett-Jackson experience there,” Jackson said.
“We’re going to run helicopter service from Manhattan, helicopter service from the Hamptons,” he added. “It’s very accessible, right off the (Interstate 95). Plus it’s close to Canada, and we’ve been asked by many of our Canadian customers to hold something in Canada or close to Canada.”
Representatives from the Mohegan Sun were present on the Las Vegas auction stage for the 12:30 p.m. PST announcement.
“We could not be more excited to be hosting the first-ever Barrett-Jackson auction in New England,” Bobby Soper, president of Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, said in a news release. “During the inaugural event this June, our property in Connecticut will transform into a car enthusiast’s wonderland with elements of the auction highlighted throughout our 4.5 million square foot property.”
The Mohegan Sun Arena is ranked among the top venues in the world according to Billboard Magazine, Pollstar and Venues Today, the resort says in its publicity material. It won Casino of the Year at the Country Music Awards three times and was voted Arena of the Year at the G2E Global Gaming Conference.
“Many of our customers from the East Coast and Canada have visited Mohegan Sun and rave about the venue,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson.
The Connecticut auction will include the features that have made Barrett-Jackson a spectator favorite, including the Opening Night Gala, Ride ’N Drives & Thrill Rides with Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge, and a huge marketplace of vendors and exhibitors.
“We expect this event will rival our Las Vegas auction for total number of cars consigned, bidders, visitors, TV viewers and exhibitors,” Jackson said.
One thing left hanging after the cancellation of the Hot August Night auction in Reno was the continuation of the Barrett-Jackson Cup, which has taken its place as one of the top competitions for custom-car builders. The multi-level contest with its six-figure array of cash and product prizes was held for the past three years during the Reno auction.
Jackson said the Barrett-Jackson Cup will continue as an annual competition although at a different time and location. An announcement regarding the new schedule will be forthcoming, he said, possibly during the SEMA aftermarket-parts show in November in Las Vegas.