Settle: Miss USA pageants could give an economic boost

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Shreveport Bossier will host both the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants in May.

Pageant officials confirmed on March 19 that both events will be held in Shreveport. The Miss Teen USA pageant is scheduled for May 17 or 18 and Miss USA for May 21.

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Miss USA was held in Shreveport in 1998 and 1999. Miss Teen USA was filmed here in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Contestants will stay at the Margarita Casino Hotel. They will begin arriving on May 11.

Miss Teen USA will be broadcast on the Reelz Network. Miss USA will be hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey and will be televised live on the FOX network.

This is the first year both pageants will be held in the same venue, virtually simultaneously.

Its probably no surprise that the “prize” of being awarded both pageants was not a freebie.

Both Bossier City and Bossier Parish have agreed to ante up $50,000 each for sponsorships.

At the Shreveport City Council meeting on March 13, Shreveport Mayor Tyler announced that the City would use economic development funds for a sponsorship. She did not indicate the dollar amount, but expect it to be $50,000. Council approval was not required for this expenditure.

The same day of the pageant announcement the Caddo Commission placed on its agenda a vote for a $50,000 sponsorship. The expenditure was approved on Thursday March 22.

The Shreveport Bossier Tourist & Convention Bureau will add another $100,000 to the pot for a guaranteed $300,000 selection fee.

A film tax credit application for the pageants has been filed with the Louisiana Economic Development Department. The application estimates that the pageants will spend a total of $5.7 million, $5 million of which would be in Louisiana. The total expenditure on Louisiana payroll is estimated to be $275,000. The maximum tax credit is 40 percent of the total qualified in-state production expenditures.

Stacy Brown, the executive director of the Shreveport Bossier Tourist & Convention Bureau, advised the Shreveport City Council and the Caddo Commission that the pageants would pay for themselves in direct tax revenues. In the two- to three-week pageant period, she said, more than 4,000 hotel nights would be booked and visitors would dine and shop locally.

Brown also promised residual return from the pageants’ economic impact. Those visiting for the pageant as well as those watching on TV will be introduced to the attractions of Shreveport and Bossier City, she said.

Hopefully, the pageants provide the economic boost, both short and long term, that is predicted. The local economy certainly needs a boost and a beauty pageant, strange as it may seem, may just be the answer.

John Settle is a local political columnist