Belfast Telegraph

Belfast ratepayers' £300,000 ticket for MTV concert

Belfast City Council is proposing to use up to £300,000 of ratepayers' cash to bring a star-studded MTV concert to Belfast.

Council officials are in talks to bring the MTV Unleashes to Belfast in September.

It will be the fourth time Northern Ireland has hosted an MTV themed event.

MTV Crashes took place in Londonderry in 2014. The broadcaster is also set to return to Derry later this year, for the MTV Club event at Ebrington Barracks.

MTV hosted its European Music Awards in Belfast in 2011, with the show including performances from Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Coldplay and Justin Bieber. It was reported that some one billion people across the world watched it on TV and it generated £22m in revenue for the city.

The September event, proposed for the Titanic slipways is estimated to cost £1.6m - the BBC has reported.

Documents seen by the broadcaster indicate that it may not break even and so is proposing to subsidise a shortfall.

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

Council hopes the event will breakeven but is considering setting aside £300,000 to make up for any shortfall.

Read more: MTV Unleashed: Talks with Belfast City Council over bringing star-studded pop festival to city 

Minutes of a meeting of the council's budget and transformation panel, which took place on March 10, record that councillors were updated on the proposed financial arrangements for the MTV event, which are set to be presented to the strategic policy and resources committee at its March meeting.

"The members discussed the importance of such an event to Belfast, given that the city would again be showcased to a worldwide audience," the minutes read.

"They also noted that it is key to the council's commitment to the animation of the city and the hosting of international events."

SDLP councillor Declan Boyle, chair of the budget and transformation panel, said the council was always on the lookout for events to bring to Belfast that will benefit the city.

"Big events are fantastic for Belfast," he added. "They bring a lot of people in. The footage goes out worldwide and brings people to the city.

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