FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 5, 2004
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg And CMA Executives Announce Location And Date For “Country Music’s Biggest Night” in 2005
NEW YORK –The CMA Awards will be presented in New York City at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 2005, marking the first time the gala event will be held outside Nashville and the first major event that NYC Big Events has successfully brought to the Big Apple. The CMA Awards will be televised live on their traditional broadcast home – the CBS Television Network.
“When we created NYC Big Events, our goal was to attract big events never before held in New York City, and today I am proud to announce that the 2005 CMA Awards will be in the Big Apple,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “The Country Music Association is a true pioneer in the music industry having successfully established Country Music as a leading genre, and we’re going to take this event to a whole new level. New York City has a proven track record of hosting the biggest and most-watched events around the globe including the 2002 NFL Kick-off in Times Square, the 2003 GRAMMY Awards and most recently the 2004 Republican National Convention. New York City is the No.1 media market, which will not only strengthen Country Music’s worldwide recognition, but will also showcase the ‘World’s Second Home’ to a whole new worldwide audience.”
“This will be Country Music’s Biggest Night on the world’s biggest stage,” said Kix Brooks, President of CMA’s Board of Directors and half of multi-platinum duo Brooks & Dunn. “Make no mistake, we are not leaving our traditional home behind. We are taking Nashville with us to the city of New York.”
The announcement was made today during a joint press conference at New York City Hall with Mayor Bloomberg; CMA Board President Kix Brooks; CMA Board member and multi-platinum artist Trace Adkins; CMA Board Chairman and CEO of Anderson Merchandisers Charlie Anderson; CMA Executive Director Ed Benson; CBS Senior Vice President of Specials Jack Sussman; and President NYC Big Events Maureen J. Reidy.
“With NYC Big Events, New York City is prepared like never before to host the most exciting celebrations using our City’s unparalleled resources on the world’s most powerful and commanding stage,” said Reidy. “Hosting the CMA Awards in New York City will generate global media attention and help us reach large populations of potential visitors who will see our City in a whole new light. We are thrilled that the CMA Awards will be the first of many perception-changing events that we will host.”
Prominent music industry and city leaders from New York City and Nashville attended the event. Representing New York City were New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff; Chief Marketing Officer Joseph M. Perello; Executive Vice President Entertainment, Madison Square Garden Joel Peresman; and Julie Talbott, Executive Vice President of Premiere Radio Networks, which is the CMA Awards official radio partner. There was a strong show of support from CMA and the city of Nashville with CMA Associate Executive Director Tammy Genovese; CMA Awards Producer Walter C. Miller; Chairman Elect of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau (NCVB) Ralph J. Schulz, Jr.; NCVB President Butch Spyridon; and several Country Music artists including 2004 CMA Awards Horizon nominee Julie Roberts; and two-time CMA Horizon Award nominee Phil Vassar.
The NYC Big Events lead by Doctoroff and Reidy first approached CMA’s Board of Directors in September 2003 about hosting the CMA Awards in New York City in 2005.
“Making a decision of this magnitude takes long and deliberate consideration,” Benson said. “But in the end, the opportunities and excitement that will be generated by hosting the CMA Awards in New York City for one year far exceed the challenges of relocating a show of this size and stature.”
The NYC Big Events team presented a plan that would benefit CMA by providing a platform for reaching the media and marketing capital of the world. In return, the CMA Awards in New York City are estimated by the New York City Economic Development Corporation to have an economic impact of $30 million while stimulating future tourism dollars.
Hosting the CMA Awards in New York City would expand media awareness and access as well as broaden the consumer base. Nearly 2.5 % of Country Music is sold in New York City, making it among the top sales markets in America. Numerous artists account for 6 to 11 percent of their total album sales in New York City including Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Martina McBride, Willie Nelson, Shania Twain and the late Johnny Cash.
“New York City is the center of many of our communication channels, from magazine headquarters to corporate giants and major advertising agencies,” said Anderson, CEO of Anderson Merchandisers, which distributes 20 percent of magazines and CDs across America through Wal-Mart and other outlets. “Building partnerships with these entities allows us to expose Country Music to a broader consumer base. Our research shows that once people experience and hear what today’s Country Music is, they realize they are already fans.”
CMA intends to create a presence in New York City that extends beyond the walls of Madison Square Garden with a series of events leading up to the gala to be known as “Country Takes New York City.” Country Music will be integrated into the fabric of the city and the lives of New Yorkers with a week of activities and opportunities for cross pollination of audiences with promotional events from the fashion industry to Broadway.
“We are taking Country Music to the street,” Brooks said. “Our goal is to be present in every corner, every club, everywhere you turn. New York City moves on the muscle and heart of its people and the themes and issues that dominate this format – the struggles people face and overcome everyday – are the backbone of what we are and what we do. New York City is not lacking Country spirit.”
Another goal is to create partnerships and connections between the political and business leaders of New York City and Nashville.
“Nashville is a city where music, tourism and business are uniquely linked,” said Spyridon, who heads the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “By taking Nashville to New York during CMA Week, we can shine the spotlight of the Big Apple on some of the world’s best and brightest musicians, songwriters and singers. Music City has a distinctive story to tell and this will give us a great opportunity to showcase our heritage, hospitality and vitality.”
“Country Takes New York City” will feature performances, exhibits, educational and cultural activities and more.
“Country Music in New York City is not a farfetched novelty,” Brooks said. “Just ask anyone who saw Garth Brooks in Central Park.” The August 1997 concert drew the largest audience in Central Park history.
“When Garth Brooks performed at Central Park, he not only showed us all that New Yorkers are Country Music fans, but his HBO special outperformed all cable specials in terms of ratings, showing that America loves Country Music in New York City,” Anderson said.
And CBS Television executives are convinced that viewers will tune in again when the CMA Awards are broadcast from Madison Square Garden with far-reaching benefits, especially with CBS affiliates throughout the northeast corridor of the United States.
“We’re extremely excited to partner with CMA and the City of New York to bring the best of Country Music to Manhattan,” said Sussman. “New York and Madison Square Garden have long established themselves as the premiere destinations for the biggest events in entertainment and we’re confident that having the city as the backdrop of next year’s CMA Awards will add even more excitement, energy and glamour to what is already one of the most anticipated events of the season.”
Beginning in 1968, the CMA Awards was the first music awards special to be broadcast annually on network television. Since then, the program has consistently earned top ratings and is always one of the highest-rated specials in the television season.
More than 40 million viewers watched all or part of the 2003 CMA Awards sweeps broadcast (12.8/20) ranking No. 3 for the week and placing it among the Top 4 awards broadcasts for the year. “The 38th Annual CMA Awards” airs Tuesday, Nov. 9 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) with Brooks & Dunn as hosts.
“Country Music’s Biggest Night” requires a state-of-the-art venue big enough to accommodate dual stages, an ambitious performance schedule often exceeding 20 performances in a three-hour broadcast, and a seating capacity for CMA’s professional industry membership, special guests and fans.
“We are proud to welcome ‘The 39th Annual CMA Awards’ to the world’s most famous arena for the first time,” said Peresman. “Madison Square Garden has been synonymous with some of the most defining, one-of-a-kind moments in musical history, and we have no doubt that our legendary setting will be the perfect venue to celebrate the year’s greatest Country Music.”
Country fans have rocked the venue before. As far back as 1940 when Gene Autry broke the attendance record for Madison Square Garden, Country artists have been selling out the venue including Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Dixie Chicks.
“This could be an incredible opportunity for Country artists on all levels,” said Adkins. “As an artist, as well as a CMA Board member, I think the CMA Awards show is already one of the best avenues we have to expose our music to such a broad audience. So, this is not about changing the show – but by taking the show to New York City, perhaps, we will change some minds.”
Country Music Association
Founded in 1958, the Country Music Association was the first trade organization formed to promote a type of music. The objectives of the organization are to guide and enhance the development of Country Music throughout the world; to demonstrate it as a viable medium to advertisers, consumers and media; and to provide a unity of purpose for the Country Music industry. CMA, originally consisting of only 233 members, now has more than 5,000 organizational and individual members in 43 countries.
NYC Big Events, Inc.
NYC Big Events, Inc. is responsible for securing high-profile events of national and international importance that generate substantial economic benefit for New York City and provide a platform to showcase the city’s positive image domestically and worldwide.
Radio City Entertainment
Radio City Entertainment (RCE), the entertainment arm of Cablevision System Corp., is a worldwide entertainment company recognized for its signature combination of event production and entertainment marketing. In addition to the nearly 700 entertainment concerts and events that take place each year at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Theater at Madison Square Garden and the Expo Center at MSG, Radio City Entertainment produces shows across America. Radio City Entertainment’s live events include The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, as well as six productions of The Christmas Spectacular outside of New York. Additional information about Radio City Entertainment is available on the Web at www.radiocity.com.