Northern Ireland

MTV Europe Music awards generated £22m for Belfast

Lady Gaga
Image caption Lady Gaga was one of the biggest names at the MTV awards staged in Belfast

New figures from Belfast City Council suggest the MTV Europe Music Awards generated £22m for the city.

They claim 1.2bn people across the world watched the awards, staged in Belfast last November, although only 306,000 viewers were in the UK.

It cost the council and the NI Tourist Board £840,000 to stage the event, alongside Belfast Music Week.

The figures estimate that £25 for the city was generated for every £1 of public money spent.

The council claims that £10m was generated in additional tourism revenue by the event, while the £22 million figure was reached by estimating things such as the PR value of media coverage and other hotel sales.

One hundred and thirty media organisations covered the awards.

The statistics are contained in a brochure prepared for the council's development committee.

It says that MTV booked more than 8,000 room nights for crew, guests and artists across 40 hotels.

However, there are no specific figures for how many tourists came to Belfast specifically for the event.

Key points in the report include:

  • £22m - total economic impact for Belfast
  • £10m - amount of additional tourism revenue for the city
  • 2,399 - number of media articles released
  • 33,500 - numbers who attended Belfast Music Week
  • 170 - number of gigs during Belfast Music Week

Joe Jordan from Belfast Chamber of Commerce said the event had meant that Belfast had been seen by "worldwide audience".

"The public purse contributed £840,000, which was money very well spent," he said.

"The private sector is the sector that provides the money in the first place through its commercial rate base, so in effect it was the private sector using the public sector as a conduit to spend the money, then to reap the benefit of their own money."

Mr Jordan said overall it had brought positive benefits to retailers in the city.

"The businesses in the city, they did experience some disruption while the stage was being built and during other preparations for the MTV Awards, but they did have a spin-off from that in the days after when the entourage was still in town doing a bit of shopping and there definitely was an uplift in trade," he added.

The week-long musical extravaganza kicked off on 30 October, culminating with the MTV EMAs on 6 November.

Lady Gaga dominated the awards with a show-stopping performance in Belfast's Odyssey Arena.

Other international acts who came to Belfast included Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Jessie J, Queen and Justin Bieber.

The event took place at three venues across Northern Ireland's capital, with local band Snow Patrol playing a free gig to 15,000 people outside city hall.

The awards, alongside Belfast Music Week, were described by the council as "truly a landmark event for Belfast, placing the city firmly on the world musical stage".

It added: "As is only fitting for a world class event, the figures are pretty impressive.

The council plans to run Belfast Music Week again from 4-11 November 2012.

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