How much do the Billboard Music Awards cost? A look at finances behind crowning the biggest music of the year

Tickets start from $895 on one website and go as high as $1995. If you think that's expensive, imagine the cost of putting up the show


                            How much do the Billboard Music Awards cost? A look at finances behind crowning the biggest music of the year
Host Kelly Clarkson performs onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Getty Images)

The Billboard Music Awards (BBMA) are back! We will see some of the biggest names in the music industry gather for a glamourous night on Monday, May 24, this time at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. Like previous years, the show will come with a full set of performances, and most importantly fans. Yes, fans will be back in the venue to enjoy the night, but it's not cheap.

Tickets start from $895 on one website and go as high as $1995. If you think that's expensive, imagine the cost of putting up the show. This year, the BBMA will feature performances from Pink, The Weeknd, Twenty One Pilots, Alicia Keys and the Jonas Brothers. Nick Jonas will be the host and stars like Kathryn Hahn, Dixie D'Amelio, Lil Rel Howrey, and Henry Golding will serve as presenters.

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While those lists are far from exhaustive, it does give you a rough idea of what to expect. It also tells you that this show costs quite a lot of money. When you have such big stars, a very popular venue and crowds coming in, there's bound to be massive costs involved. Just how much you ask? That's what we tried to find out.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas of Jonas Brothers attend the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 01, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images)

 

How much does the BBMA cost?

No one knows the exact cost of the shows. Like other major events like the Grammys, Oscars, and the Golden Globes, the BBMA's actual costs are never revealed. There are only rough estimates available, based on information that we can get. Let's take the Oscars for example. Insider estimated that the 2020 Oscars cost $44 million to host. That includes $24,700 for the red carpet and $400 for each statuette. Given the importance and value of the awards, there's a lot more scrutiny on them. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the BBMA. 

While the awards are invaluable to the music industry, they just don't receive the same relevance as the Oscars and therefore not the same amount of scrutiny. There are no studies, articles or information online about the true cost of the awards, which have been held annually since 1990. British website The Squander estimated the awards cost around $15-20 million to put on, which is quite low as compared to Hollywood's biggest event. 

Taylor Swift accepts the Woman of the Decade award onstage during Billboard Women In Music 2019, presented by YouTube Music, on December 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

Unfortunately, there's no way to even provide an estimate, as most costs would be custom quotes negotiated by the BBMA organizers directly. But paying for the venue, decorations, and catering alone would set you back a few million. Then there's the cost of the attendees. Award show hosts are usually paid around $100,000 if they are really big names, while costs for performers will vary based on the artist. And finally, there's security for all those stars. 

All put together, you can be the BBMA costs a few million. We will never know the true cost, but even an estimate is hard to come by. Maybe someday we'll know more, but for now this estimate is the best (and only) guess we have. 

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