Printer Friendly Format Email a Friend

PR- 261-04
October 05, 2004


First Time Ever That “Country Music’s Biggest Night” will be held in the Big Apple on the “World’s Biggest Stage”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Country Music Association (CMA) Board of Directors President and half of multi-platinum duo Brooks & Dunn, Kix Brooks, and NYC Big Events President Maureen J. Reidy today announced that the 2005 CMA Awards will be broadcast live from New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, November 15, 2005.  This marks the first time ever that the gala event will be held outside Nashville, and first brand-new event that NYC Big Events has brought to the Big Apple through a concerted effort to market the City’s unique assets to a new target audience. Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, NYC & Company President & Chief Executive Officer Cristyne L. Nicholas, CMA Board Chairman and CEO of Anderson Merchandisers Charlie Anderson, CMA Executive Director Ed Benson, and CBS Senior Vice President of Specials Jack Sussman joined the Mayor for the announcement at City Hall.

“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 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 #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, and we are taking Nashville with us to the City of New York.” added Brooks. “Country Music in New York City is not a farfetched novelty – just ask anyone who saw Garth Brooks in Central Park in August 1997.”

“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 NYC Big Events President Maureen 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.”

The City’s Economic Development Corporation projects that the 2005 CMA Awards will have an estimated economic impact in excess of $30 million, and hosting the CMA Awards will stimulate future tourism dollars by exposing a new audience worldwide to New York City.

It was in May of 2003 that NYC Big Events first approached CMA about hosting the CMA Awards in New York City.  Over the next few months, NYC Big Events developed a pitch highlighting New York City’s unique ability as the #1 media market to increase the awareness, exposure and ratings of the CMA Awards.  In September 2003, the NYC Big Events team led by Deputy Mayor Doctoroff and President Reidy traveled to Chicago to pitch the CMA Board on the idea of holding the event in the Big Apple, the “Media Capital of the World.”

The team presented a plan that would benefit CMA by providing a platform for reaching the media and marketing capital of the world, and demonstrated that 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, which in 2003 made it the No. 2 sales market in America (Source: Soundscan).  Numerous artists account for 6% to 11% of their total album sales in New York 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 CMA Board Chairman and CEO of Anderson Merchandisers Charlie Anderson. “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 today’s Country Music, they realize they are already fans.”

“Making a decision of this magnitude takes long and deliberate consideration,” said CMA Executive Director Ed Benson. “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.”
CMA and NYC Big Events together intend 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.” The programming will feature performances, exhibits, educational and cultural activities and promotional events from the fashion industry to Broadway. Another goal is to create a tourism partnership between New York City and Nashville that will encourage visitors from both cities.
“With strong stories and powerful emotion, Country Music appeals to tens of millions of music fans around the world,” said NYC & Company’s Cristyne Nicholas.  “By welcoming the Country Music Awards in New York City for the first time in the awards history, we are opening our doors to all of its listeners and are glad to bring country to our city.”

“Nashville is a city where music, tourism and business are uniquely linked,” said Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau President Butch Spyridon. “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.”

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.

“We’re extremely excited to partner with CMA and the City of New York to bring the best of Country Music to Manhattan,” said CBS Senior Vice President of Specials Jack 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.”

“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 found the perfect location in New York’s world-renowned Madison Square Garden.
“We are proud to welcome ‘The 39th Annual CMA Awards’ to the World’s Most Famous Arena for the first time,” said Madison Square Garden Executive Vice President Entertainment Joel 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 (1999), Faith Hill and Tim McGraw (2000).


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958


Wendy Pearl (CMA)   (615) 244-2840

Kate Ferguson (Edelman for CMA)   (212) 819-4848

More Resources
View the photos
Watch press conference in 56k or 300k