Miss America leaving Boardwalk Hall again, CRDA says
ATLANTIC CITY — The next Miss America will be crowned in a new location.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) appears to be following through on its December statement that the group would not keep up its funding of the pageant because of the expense of producing the pageant at Boardwalk Hall.
"The Miss America Organization and CRDA mutually believe that it's not the appropriate venue for it because of the cost of the venue," CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty told New Jersey 101.5, who would not rule out the pageant staying in Atlantic City,
He said talks are ongoing with Miss America Organization president Regina Hopper to hold the pageant at another smaller venue in Atlantic City.
"I think it's better for Atlantic City to have the Miss America competition than not have it, but it cannot be subsidized at the rate it was in the past by the CRDA, which for 2018 was $4.325 million," Doherty said.
Doherty made his initial comments about Boardwalk Hall during a meeting with the Press of Atlantic City Editorial Board.
After the CRDA made its position known in January the pageant began shopping itself around with a Request for Proposal for the 2020 pageant. It's not known if they've had any takers.
Both the Mark Etess Arena inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the Ocean Casino Resort's Ovation Hall seat 5,000 while the Borgata's outdoor Festival Park has a capacity of over 4,000. Boardwalk Hall has a capacity of over 14,000.
Doherty said the marketplace will determine whether the pageant, which also has no TV contract, is still relevant as it prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021.
"If they're able to secure a venue and secure a network to broadcast it on, that kind of answers the question better than I can," Doherty said.
In the face of shrinking TV ratings and interest, the pageant has tried to revitalize itself with Hopper and Gretchen Carlson as chair of its Board of Directors over the past two years. It's biggest change, the elimination of the swimsuit competition, was greeted with criticism which led to the some state Miss American organizations, including New Jersey, being stripped of their license.
New Jersey's license has since been restored but with leadership changes.
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