MTV to Move Video Music Awards to Miami

By | April 19, 2004 at 12:00 AM

MTV will take its irreverent Video Music Awards to Miami this year. The live event, in its 21st year, will be held Aug. 29 at the AmericanAirlines Arena, the cable television network announced Friday. It will be the first time the show is held outside Los Angeles or New York, which has hosted the awards in recent years.

But because the Republican National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, having the VMAs in New York would have been difficult, said the VMA’s executive producer, Salli Frattini.

“There were very, very limited venue possibilities in New York because of the RNC this year,” Frattini said. “We were really excited about the reception we received from Miami.”

Miami officials would not disclose how much they will spend to host the award. Memphis, Tenn., last month offered to spend about $500,000 for police, fire and emergency services to try to lure MTV there.

“It was an attractive, fair package to get them here,” said William Talbert, president of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Los Angeles, Chicago and Puerto Rico were also vying for the show, Talbert said.

Talbert would not estimate the much money the city stands to earn from the event, but said 2,500 hotel rooms have already been booked.

“We will measure the economic impact, the room pickups, what folks spend when they are here, so we can give you a number next year, when they come back in 2005,” he said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas said the “intangibles” of a high-profile awards show could outweigh the economic benefits.

“This really helps cement this community’s position as a leader in the music industry,” Penelas said. “We’re already the capital of Latin music in the world, we are rapidly becoming the epicenter of the hip-hop music industry (and) we have so many hot stars and producers who already live here.”

Miami last year hosted the Latin Grammys, two years after organizers moved the show to Los Angeles when some exile groups threatened to protest because artists from communist Cuba would have performed. Organizers said they yanked the show because of safety concerns.

The VMAs celebrate the year’s best music videos, but the honors are usually upstaged by the shenanigans of its celebrity presenters and performers. Last year, the show’s most talked about moment was an onstage kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears.

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