Miami wanted its MTV, and it got it
By Claudio Mendonça
For the second consecutive year, Miami will be in the spotlight of the music industry when it hosts the coveted MTV Video Music Awards.
Industry parties throughout the community and a week of global media hype are expected to put Miami before tens of millions of eyeballs before the worldwide broadcast at 8 p.m. Aug. 28 from American Airlines Arena.
Miami competed against New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago and Memphis for the awards. In 2004, Miami was selected as the first host city other than New York or Los Angeles.
"We are thrilled. MTV is returning to Miami," said David Whitaker, vice president of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. He said the bureau negotiated directly with the music network on the deal, which was announced Monday.
Miami probably was chosen due to its experience of hosting mega events such as the Super Bowl, Mr. Whitaker said. The city's strong hotel infrastructure also played a major role.
"We offered MTV a great hotel package, which in my opinion is superior to any other package in the country," Mr. Whitaker said.
The most significant benefit of the deal, he said, is publicity for the city during the week preceding the event. In addition to the awards ceremony, the network will broadcast several shows from the area.
There is no formal study of direct economic impact of the event, Mr. Whitaker said. But he estimated that it could bring $8 million to $10 million. About 2,000 rooms are booked for five nights for cast and crew alone, Mr. Whitaker said.
He said visitors for the event could book 10,000 hotel rooms and spend $800 a day in restaurants.
"We have thousands of revelers" coming in August, a traditionally slow month for tourism in Miami, he said.
Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks, said support from the community led the company to select Miami. "The support really made the decision to return to Miami an easy one for us," said Mr. Toffler. "The mayors, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and South Floridian fans have made MTV feel at home."
Production companies and hotels will court music labels to promote parties for that week, said Javier Velarde, an executive with Triton Productions Inc. He projected a $1.5 million boost to the local economy from corporate parties.
Mr. Velarde said lower costs associated with the production in Miami gave the city an edge over New York and Los Angeles. In New York, for example, MTV would have to deal with labor unions for hiring crews, raising expenses 30% to 40%, he said.
"This is a huge event," said Mr. Velarde, whose company organized the red carpet for the Latin Grammys in 2004. "You can be sure that between today until the night of the show, hotels and production companies will be trying to get a piece of the action."