Puerto Rico Gov’t Aims to Host Billboard Latin Music Awards
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Government began negotiations with NBC-Universal to host the Billboard Latin Music Awards in 2018, and now the goal is focused in obtaining an agreement that would represent $40 million to the local economy, as announced Thursday by House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez.
Accompanied by Economic Development (DDEC by its Spanish) Secretary Manuel Laboy and Tourism Director José Izquierdo II, among other officials from the tourism industry, the House leader assured that the negotiation with NBC will end on good terms for Puerto Rico, and prove that the island is open for business.
“[The agreement] will materialize. I can assure you that. It is up to Telemundo to announce the date,” Méndez said after Caribbean Business asked about the probability that the negotiations with NBC end in an agreement that would allow the island to host the award show.
If an agreement is reached, Puerto Rico would host the show in exchange for government sponsorship of the event, whose cost wasn’t revealed.
“We have been talking here about a quantity far lower than what was spent on the Sevilla FC [sponsorship], and the best part is it will be a promotion for an extended period. The artists who come here can promote the island. What we want is to make the best deal for the people of Puerto Rico,” he said.
Last year, the Billboard Awards had an audience of 5.4 million people, according to data provided by the House speaker.
“This is one of the most watched events in the United States, as well as many other countries around the world, and will represent a direct investment for our economy that would exceed $40 million. In production alone, about $8 million will be invested. Today we took the first step for Puerto Rico to become a mecca for the entertainment industry and large-scale projects. We want Puerto Rico to become the permanent venue for the Billboards,” he said.
For his part, the DDEC secretary said the negotiation is “a strategic bet by the government” of Ricardo Rosselló, which must see a return on its investment.
“That is part of the negotiations. This will take place. It was an approach by the speaker [Méndez] with that company [NBC], and the strategy has been in development. We have been slowly restoring credibility, and that trust in Puerto Rico is key. We are confident that these negotiations will be effective, we are very happy with this initiative; it has enormous potential,” Laboy said.
The Tourism director described the negotiations as “another sign this administration is open for business,” and that Puerto Rico is able to host large events.
The government and NBC-Universal signed a memorandum of understanding, and the investment includes 3,500 hotel rooms during the awards, and it was agreed upon at the beginning of the negotiations that Puerto Rican companies would be hired for security, transportation, power generators and other necessary services.
The government also discussed 700 catering orders as part of the investment, and recruitment of local companies to help assemble the venue.
“This event allows us to become a platform to announce ourselves and be seen as a destination to visit. The economic situation forces government officials to maximize our investment, our performance, and the negotiation aimed at establishing the details of what our participation will be in the event begins today,” said Izquierdo.