Latin Grammys: Las Vegas Bound

NEW YORK With the Latin Grammys bound for Las Vegas, where it will mount the 8th annual music event on Nov. 8, show sponsors such as Heineken USA said they are betting their brands will win big with Latino consumers. And like last year’s awards show, which counted a dozen or so new and returning brand sponsors, the upcoming event in its new home promises to be just as successful.

“Las Vegas is as aspirational a destination as New York City was last year for the Latin Grammys,” said Paul Smailes, Hispanic brand manager of Heinken. “In terms of viewership levels, we’re very confident that they will be as strong, if not stronger, this year than last.”

The Heineken brand has been the offical beer of the Latin Grammys since 2000, when the event struggled to attract an audience at CBS.

With the shift in exclusive broadcasting duties to Univision in 2005, Smailes said the Heinken brand and the awards show have both benefitted from the widened domestic and international viewing audience.

“It’s a fantastic relationship,” he said. “The Latin Grammys’ move to Univision has been shown in the higher ratings from the first year. The numbers speak for themselves.”

The 2006 Univision telecast reached 11.3 million viewers and was the No. 1 program in its time period in a number of major markets among key demos including all adults and non-Hispanics, 18-49, and teens, 12-17.

For Univision, the awards show venue will provide an exciting backdrop that showcases an emerging Latino community that doubles as a top tourist draw.

“We’re particularly excited to broadcast live from the world’s most exciting entertainment city and from one of this country’s fastest-growing Hispanic communities,” said Alina Falcón, Univision’s executive vice president and operating manager.

Las Vegas has aggressively marketed to Latinos, earning its status as the nation’s top destination for Hispanics, according to a recent survey by the Travel Industry Association of America. Last year, 2.4 million U.S. visited the desert city, spending $1.7 billion on nongaming activies.

Terry Jicinsky, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said that event organizers were sold on his city’s ability to offer itself as a full-resort destination package with just the right amount of opportunity for media exposure.

He added, “The city itself provides some additional cachet as well as a high-level of brand recognition, making it one more reason to travel to Las Vegas.”