MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Organizers may be moving the popular Miss USA pageant from the desert to the beach. South Beach, that is.
According to CBS4 News partners The Miami Herald, representatives for Miss Universe, the parent company of the pageant, are toying with the idea of bringing the event back to Miami Beach beginning in 2012.
“We hope it happens,” said Lacey Abbott, director of ACT Productions, a South Florida promoter that approached both Miss Universe and local and regional government officials this month about hosting the pageant in 2012 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. “I think we’re close.”
A Miss Universe spokesperson told the paper that talks to bring the pageant to South Beach are “preliminary” and could not get into specifics about the negotiations.
The sticking point appears to be money, according to the Herald.
Even though ownership of the Miss USA pageant is co-owned by millionaire real estate developer Donald Trump and NBC, event officials have asked the city shell out $1 million in cash and services to help host the show. In addition to the actual televised event, 51 contestants would be filmed gallivanting around South Beach for three weeks leading up to it.
City officials are still working on that high price tag.
“If it’s $1 million, I don’t think we’re in the game,” said City Manager Jorge Gonzalez. “But half a million…..”
If the pageant comes to South Florida, it could give a nice boost to the local economy.
The city would receive money from ticket sales, as much as $300,000, and eight minutes of Miami Beach airtime during the primetime telecast on June 3. Thousands of hotel rooms could also be booked.
An estimated 7.4 million American viewers watched this years pageant.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)