New York Is Top of Mind At Recording Academy Chapter Luncheon

 “Intensity, vibrancy, and diversity” was how the 60th annual Grammys’ return to the East Coast was hailed by the music industry and artists alike at the New York chapter of the Recording Academy’s annual luncheon at Bryant Park honoring the current nominees and past winners of the Recording Academy.  

Madison Square Garden exterior
Steve Mack / FilmMagic via Getty Images
Madison Square Garden exterior
circa 2016

“To celebrate the 60th anniversary in New York City is just wonderful. The way it should be – the universe got it right this time,” exclaimed John Poppo, Chair of The Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees, as attendees whistled and cheered. “For many of the nominees, it’ll be their first time attending the Grammys on the East Coast and that’s a special experience,” explained Nick Cucci, Executive Director, New York Chapter of The Recording Academy.

The move back to NYC for the first time since 2003 from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan is a seismic shift for the Grammys and a nod to the coastal competitiveness between two of the top entertainment and sports venues in the U.S.

Downtown Los Angeles’ Staples Center is owned and operated by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), and opened in 1999. It was designed to host Los Angeles’ prolific and lucrative entertainment and sports industry and became the anchor for AEG’s L.A. Live entertainment complex – effectively allowing guests to be wined, dined, and entertained in close proximity.

The Staples Center, which is home to professional sports franchises the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, the NHL’s L.A. Kings and the WNBA’s Sparks, has a capacity of 20,000 and averaged 19,810 tickets sold each concert with an average gross of $1.7 million according to box office reports submitted to Pollstar over the last three years. The arena is one of the must-stop venues for big touring acts making their way through the West Coast.

Recent reports include three Kendrick Lamar shows, which together sold 38,691 tickets and grossed more than $4 million; three gigs by Ed Sheeran (40,731 tickets sold, more than $3.6 million grossed) and three by Red Hot Chili Peppers (40,383 tickets sold, more than $3.5 million grossed).

By comparison, Madison Square Garden Arena, billed as “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” is owned and operated by the Madison Square Garden Company and literally sits atop Penn Station, the busiest travel hub in the U.S., making the venue easily accessible for locals and tourists alike.

Located at its current location since 1968, the Garden recently underwent a $1 billion renovation offering more room and views. The 19,420-capacity Garden reported more than 1.1 million tickets sold in 2017, putting it at No. 2 on Pollstar’s Year End Worldwide Top 200 Arenas based on ticket sales.

Home to the NBA’s Knicks, the NHL’s Rangers and the WNBA’s Liberty as well as St. John’s University’s NCAA basketball team the Red Storm, MSG is New York’s premier arena.

Some of the biggest touring acts making stops there in recent months include Guns N’ Roses, which over three shows in October moved 41,181 tickets and grossed $6.1 million. Paul McCartney did two (30,213 tickets, more than $6.4 million grossed) and so did Bruno Mars (30,988 tickets, more than $4.1 million grossed). Phish played its 13-date “Bakers Dozen” residency at the venue July 21 through Aug. 6, moving 227,385 tickets and raking in more than $15 million.

Unlike the relatively self-contained venue at the Staples Center, the New York Grammy events including the show and parties, will take place over a 10-block radius including Penn Station, Times Square and Radio City Music Hall.

Harrison Remler of Visionary Music Group and co-manager of Logic, who was nominated for the best song and music video of the year, says Madison Square Garden is as iconic as New York itself. For Remler, this show will be especially poignant as Khalid and Alessia Cara join Logic on stage at the Grammys to sing the hit single”1-800-273-8255″ with suicide attempt and loss survivors at their side.

Mireya Ramos, the founder of New York-based Mariachi band Flor De Toloache and winner of a Latin Grammy for best ranchero/mariachi album category, performed at halftime for Latino Night at MSG in 2017.

“The Garden is amazing, a dream. So many people! I also love the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville – the acoustics are everything.”

The Recording Academy recently announced additions to the list of Grammy-nominated artists performing live at the awards, including Bruno Mars with Cardi B, Daddy Yankee, Kesha, Sza, Childish Gambino, Lady Gaga, Pink, Luis Fonsi, and Little Big Town.

Broadway stars Patti Lupone and Ben Platt will pay homage to the return of the Grammys to New York City as well as tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Leonard Bernstein with songs from”Evita” and “West Side Story.”

 This year’s Grammys airs live on Sunday, Jan. 28. on CBS at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

Additional reporting by Ron Camacho