Northern Ireland

Belfast City Council proposes £300,000 loss cover for MTV show

Belfast City Hall
Image caption The proposal to use ratepayer's money to cover losses if the concert does not break even is to be put before councillors at Belfast City Hall next month, when it may be rejected or ratified

Belfast City Council is proposing to subsidise up to £300,000 of losses on a potential MTV concert with a budget drawn from rates.

The council is currently understood to be in negotiations with MTV to bring an event called MTV Unleashes Belfast to the Titanic Slipways this September.

Documents seen by the BBC estimate the total cost of the show would be £1.6m.

They indicate the council currently assesses it may not break even and so is proposing to subsidise a shortfall.

The restricted report said that the two-day concert will also result in two television programmes showcasing Belfast as a "must visit destination".

Other proposed benefits of the show include bringing in "out of state" visitors and "increasing spend in the local economy".

The council intends to recoup the estimated £1.6m cost of the event through ticket, food and merchandise sales, as well as sponsorship income.

However, the document states that "based on a conservative 80% ticket sales assumption and no contributions from other public agencies, the current Profit and Loss forecast is a loss of around £300k".

The document notes that Belfast City Council is working with MTV to "ensure that the event delivers a breakeven position".

It added: "If, however, the event fails to reach a breakeven point, then it is proposed that the council will contribute up to £300k deficit funding.

"The council has established a city animation budget as part of the rate-setting process for 2016/17 and this would be used to finance this contribution if required."

The document is an outline proposal to be put before councillors and may be rejected or ratified.

A council spokeswoman told the BBC that it "will not comment on the detail of a restricted report that is to be discussed at its April monthly meeting".

"However, we can confirm that there will be consideration of a potential event later in the year and whether the council should support such an event."

"A budget designed to enable support for events which would showcase Belfast was established as part of the rate setting process for 2016/17 and approved by council at its February meeting."

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