Video Music Awards Return to New York, Following Grammys' Lead


The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has reached an agreement to bring MTV’s Video Music Awards back to New York City this summer — just months after the city saw the return of the Grammy Awards ceremony.

Julie Menin, the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, said that such awards shows bring millions of dollars in economic benefits and, in the case of both the Grammys and the MTV awards, the agreements to bring the groups to New York included no layout of city money or subsidies.

“To be very clear, the city does not in any way write a check or put in dollars into attracting these awards shows,” Ms. Menin said. “We believe that New York is such an attractive city for people to want to bring these shows to” that taxpayer-funded incentives are not necessary.

The Video Music Awards has regularly bounced back and forth between New York and Los Angeles (with stops in Miami and Las Vegas), and it has been held in New York City 16 times in the 34 years since it started. That includes the first two shows, in 1984 and 1985. The last time the show was staged in New York was in 2016.

The show will be held at Radio City Music Hall on Aug. 20. The Grammys, a much larger event, was held at Madison Square Garden in January, returning to the city for the first time in 15 years.

“We’re thrilled because it’s sort of a back-to-back win for the city,” Ms. Menin said. “It certainly sends a signal that New York City is a place to have these signature awards shows and it’s really the epicenter of music.”

While the Grammy Awards has deep roots in Los Angeles, including a multiyear deal with the Staples Center there, Ms. Menin said that she is hopeful that MTV may be persuaded to agree to a long-term deal to hold the show in New York City.

MTV has been struggling to maintain its relevance, amid several years of falling ratings and a broader trend of viewers abandoning cable programming and opting for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Last year the network embarked on a rebuilding strategy, which included reviving its Times Square studio. The network renovated the studio and last fall brought its onetime signature music show, “TRL,” back to the venue.

“Now that the ‘TRL’ studio is back up and running and we have a steady drumbeat,” said Bruce Gillmer, an MTV executive, “the addition of the V.M.A.s gives us some kind of scale.”

“We are feeling a deeper connection to the city again, and while we don’t have any firm plans to be in any one place with the V.M.A.s,” he continued, “there are some conversations on, ‘Is there some consistency here, can we build on this?’”

The V.M.A.s have also seen declining relevance over the last few years: Viewership for the award show fell to a little more than 5 million viewers last year, an all-time low — though the Facebook stream now brings in many more viewers.

An economic study of the 2014 Grammy Awards found $82 million in benefits to Los Angeles. Ms. Menin cited a study claiming the V.M.A.s generated $50 million of economic activity in Los Angeles in 2014. In 2006, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg estimated the city would get a $25 million economic benefit from the V.M.A.s.

Ms. Menin said that she is in talks to with the organizers of other award shows to bring them to New York, but she refused to name them so as not to jeopardize the negotiations.

She said that the city works with the organizers of programs like the Grammys and the V.M.A.s to streamline permits and arrange for street closings and other things to help facilitate staging events and the loading and unloading of equipment. She said the city will also help to promote the V.M.A.s by placing ads in buses and subway cars, which she said do not involve a cost to the city.

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