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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tour of Champions Revisited

In my selfish focus on Carolina Crown's NightBEAT on the Tour of Champions schedule, I really haven't looked at the TOC schedule as a whole. For those unfamiliar, the DCI Tour of Champions events will feature eight recently top-performing corps in five banner events throughout the country that should be the best that drum corps has to offer. In the inaugural year of the series, there will be TOC events in Rockford, IL; Houston, TX; Murfreesboro, TN; Rock Hill, SC; and East Rutherford, NJ. In the same manner as I re-imagined NightBEAT--and with the same caveat that I am doing this not having the limitations of budget, scheduling, or frankly reality, that DCI has, so take this as little more than an exercise in fun. While it isn't my intent to throw shade on the league, I will point out that since the TOC came about as the result of a rogue faction within DCI, the league may have an interest in it being successful, but not TOO successful. But I won't get all conspiracy theory here.
First of all, if I had it to do, in five shows, I'd do my best to spread TOC events as much throughout the country as possible. Since this is the biggest thing DCI's got to offer, I'd do my best to put it into the biggest venues and biggest metro areas possible, so as to maximize the number of eyes on the product.
Let's start with what I think they got spot on. The show in East Rutherford, NJ is in New Meadowlands Stadium, home to the NFL's Giants and Jets, and in the shadow of the biggest city in the country. It is also in a strong drum corps community in the Tri-State area and northeastern Pennsylvania. For those traveling to the show, the NYC area is easily accessible via various moves of transportation.
The next closest to right is the homer pick. I've already discussed how a move from Rock Hill, SC to Charlotte would do the show a world of good, so I won't rehash that here. Beyond that, though, Charlotte is a major southeastern city (and Atlanta already hosts the SE regional) and is a major transportation hub.
Houston's not a bad pick--it's the 6th largest metro area in the country, and the ideal location there would be the Texans' Reliant Stadium. If I were to switch this one up, I'd move this show elsewhere in the state to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, specifically Jerry World, the new Cowboys' Stadium in Arlington. This is where I again remind you that this exercise of mine is without the restraints of budget, scheduling, or reality. Still, DFW is easy to get into and out of travelwise, and as much as I hate to compliment anything Cowboys related, it is perhaps the premier stage in sports and entertainment. Hopefully they won't charge folks to hang out in the parking lot and watch it on TV. A move to DFW also gives this a little more physical distance from the major DCI event in San Antonio.
I know that one of the TOC participants, Phantom Regiment, hosts their Show of Shows in their hometown of Rockford, IL. With all due respect to the 2008 World Champs, I'd move this show about 90 miles to the east to Chicago. It's the third biggest metro in the company, a major transportation hub, and could the show could take place in the home of Da Bears, or, if you're feeling frisky, we learned this past season from the Illinois-Northwestern game that a football field will fit in iconic Wrigley Field--how's that for a drum corps backdrop?
Finally Murfreesboro. Sorry, I know drum corps has been good to Murfreesboro and Murfreesboro's been good to drum corps, but I'm taking this show west, young man. I feel comfortable moving this show for a few reasons. First of all, Murfreesboro has long been the host of the Masters of the Summer Music Games, which pits the top eight corps against one another en route to the Southeastern Championship in Atlanta. I've got no desire to take that show from them; if the self-professed champions are that good, then the Murfreesboro show would be a de facto Tour of Champions event. If not, the drum corps mad crowd in TN will see the actual top eight corps. Either way, that show wins. But instead of codifying it as a TOC event, I'd save that for something the series doesn't currently have: A West Coast show. And though the two TOC corps hailing from out west reside in the Bay area, I've got my sights set on the LA metro area, placing the show in a place that's no stranger to pageantry: The Rose Bowl. Why not round out the series in a historic stadium in the second biggest metro in the country?
So that's my Tour of Champions--shows in the four largest metros in the country, spread east, west, south, and midwest, with a Texas show for good measure. If you've got a re-imagining of your own, I'd love to hear it.
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