Louisiana still hasn't paid Miss USA
BATON ROUGE - Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said he will announce next week how much the state will pay the Miss USA pageant. The state tourism board and seafood board agreed to pay a combined total of $65,000, but may pay less since the pageant lost its prime T.V. spot on NBC.
In total the state, city of Baton Rouge, and the tourist group Visit Baton Rouge agreed to pay $440,000 in incentive money to draw the pageant to Baton Rouge. To date $300,000 has been paid. All of the money comes from taxpayers.
Sunday's pageant had 925,000 viewers according to Neilsen ratings, and was televised on the Reelz Channel after NBC pulled out. Last year 5.6 million people watched the pageant on NBC, an 84 perent drop.
Dardenne said the numbers are "not surprising," but despite the loss in viewers the pageant was still a "great public relations benefit" for Baton Rouge and Louisiana.
Visit Baton Rouge is withholding the $75,000 it promised to the pageant and may ultimately pay less.
"The Miss USA contestants experienced a wonderful time in Baton Rouge," said Paul Arrigo, VisitBR CEO. "A decision on the remaining $75,000 will be discussed by the Visit Baton Rouge board at a later date."
In June, NBC refused to broadcast the pageant after its owner, Donald Trump, made controversial statements about Mexican immigrants.
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