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Grammys

By DANIEL TAUB Staff Reporter Hoping to enhance its bid to host the 2000 Grammy Awards, Staples Center officials have shelled out $100,000 to be title sponsor of the 1999 L.A. Grammy Host Committee. Under the deal, Staples Center’s logo is popping up on street banners and invitations for events organized by the Grammy committee. “We believe the Grammy Awards are and continue to be an integral part of Los Angeles, so we saw a strategic fit,” said Bobby Goldwater, senior vice president and general manager of Staples Center. “This (sponsorship) is the best and most visible way we could (associate with the Grammys) for 1999.” But don’t expect the tie-in to make Staples Center a shoo-in for 2000. Officials with the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the non-profit group that puts on the Grammys, insist they won’t make any decision on where next year’s show will be held until after this year’s event. The 41st Annual Grammy Awards are being held Feb. 24 at the Shrine Auditorium. NARAS President and Chief Executive Michael Greene did not return calls for comment, but said in an interview last month that it is in NARAS’s best interest to have New York and L.A. compete against each other. “We are looking forward to completing our negotiations with our friends at Staples (Center),” Greene said. The objective, he added, is “to be able to very clearly gauge the difference in the cost between the (Staples Center and New York’s Madison Square Garden).” NARAS is looking for a larger venue for its awards show, which has outgrown both the Shrine and New York’s Radio City Music Hall. In 1997, the show was held at Madison Square Garden, with more than twice the seating capacity of the other venues. But it was criticized by some as being too cavernous. Staples Center, with a seating capacity of 20,000, would solve the size problem without sacrificing intimacy, say local boosters. That arena is currently under construction and scheduled for completion this fall. NARAS is paying $700,000 to rent the aging Shrine for this year’s show and Staples would likely draw more. But perhaps more important is the national television exposure that the new arena would receive, perhaps enticing producers of other events. “It’s a smart step, don’t you think?” said Kathryn Schloessman, president of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, which has been lobbying NARAS on behalf of Staples Center. “I think it’s a very positive step to getting the Grammys to come to Staples Center next year.”

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