A few hours after the official launch of SportsMap, a by-invitation-only crowd of 150 gathered for a blowout bash at Hotel ZaZa Thursday night. They toasted the new new sports website, which promises "all sports all the time" in a digital format.
The party, sponsored by CultureMap and ESPN 9.75 FM, spilled out from the hotel's Monarch restaurant into the outdoor area, where DJ Senega’s hot spins set the lively tone as guests took a swing at mini golf and got a real-time view of the work of Franky Cardona, the artist who created the Astros street art display at Home Run Alley at Minute Maid Park. Cardona created a one-of-a-kind painting of Texans star J.J. Watt as guests watched and marveled.
Guests also posed for step-and-repeat photos by Smilebooth, and enjoyed an array of hors d'oeuvres and free-flowing drinks, including ice-cold Coors Light beers and two signature cocktails: The All Star, made with tequila, blood orange juice, lime juice, and agave nectar, and The End Zone, stirred with lemon juice, simple syrup and a hit of gin.
SportsMap, featuring a variety of written, video, and audio content covering Houston's sports scene, is the latest addition to owner Gow Media's fast-growing multi-platform business ventures, which also include CultureMap, ESPN 97.5 FM, SportsMap 94.1 FM, the SBNation national radio network, PodcastArena, and Gow Media Audio Publishing, an audiobook hosting site.
Joining in the celebration were Gow Media CEO David Gow, Texas Monthly owner Paul Hobby and his wife Janet, SportsMap editor-in-chief Fred Faour, CultureMap editor-in-chief Clifford Pugh, KHOU11 sports reporter Daniel Gotera and his wife, Fox 26 anchor/reporter Rashi Vats, KHOU11 meteorologist Chita Craft and her husband Lane, Butch Alsandor, and Nick Scurfield.
Also spotted in the crowd were Mike McGuff, Tijuana Harvey, Cherry Pie Hospitality’s Lee Ellis, Brittaney Wilmore, Kevin Cooper, Jerry Flores, Gerard Torres, Lawson Gow, Graham McKernan, Jennifer Muller, Brandon Strange, Patrick Dugan, Mark Toon, Julie Griffin, Andy Martin, and Leisa Holland-Nelson.
On-air personalities from the Gow Media sports family on hand included Charlie Pallilo, A.J. Hoffman, Charlie Epps (aka "The Golf Doctor"), Joel Blank, and Robin Carlin.