Would pay $1 million in annual rent for 15 years.
Live Nation may take over Miami Beach, Fla.'s Jackie Gleason Theater, once the home of the annual Billboard Latin Music Awards. On Oct. 18, the Miami Beach City Commission voted to negotiate an agreement with Live Nation, which would pay the city $1 million in annual rent for 15 years, according to published reports. Live Nation would also renovate the Jackie Gleason, at an approximate cost of $3.5 million.
Live Nation's entry into the Gleason comes as a surprise to many. For the past year, the city had been in serious negotiations with Cirque du Soleil, which had plans to have the Gleason be its permanent Miami Beach home. But several months ago, AEG Live also came into the picture, and in July commissioners decided to hear proposals from both AEG and Live Nation.
Although it is located in the heart of South Beach and has easy parking access, the 56-year-old Gleason currently loses $1 million a year. At least some of its troubles are attributed to the fact that Miami Beach and Miami have long been perceived as places in which it is difficult to sell tickets. Promoters also routinely say it is a challenge to market diverse shows to Miami's diverse audiences.
Live Nation executives have said that they plan to make the Gleason a concert venue, as opposed to the multi-purpose use it has today. Many of the Gleason's performances have long been Broadway shows, which have now moved to the newly opened Miami Performing Arts Center. Interest for the Gleason underscores growing interest from promoters in easier to fill mid-size venues.