After a long run of consecutive shows held in Downtown LA, it looks like the Grammy Awards are heading back to New York City in 2018. Billboard reports that the long-rumored return of the music industry’s biggest awards show to Madison Square Garden is now all but a done deal.
The Grammys won’t be gone for long though; in 2019, the show will reportedly return to the Staples Center as part of a multi-year agreement with venue owners AEG.
In decades past, New York and Los Angeles typically alternated as host cities, but after a feud between former Recording Academy president Michael Greene and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Los Angeles became something of a permanent home for the show. The last time the show was held in New York (or anywhere other than Staples Center) was in 2003, when the nominees for Best New Artist included Norah Jones, John Mayer, and Ashanti.
The show’s location isn’t merely a point of cultural pride for the host city—it can also make a significant impact on the local economy. A 2015 report estimated the total economic benefit of the show to LA County to be as much as $200 million.
Of course, the ceremony’s complicated setup can create problems for host venues. Madison Square Garden’s busy schedule of events will have to come to a halt for almost two weeks as workers hurry to build and test the elaborate set pieces typical of the show. That may result in financial losses for the Garden’s ownership group, but as Billboard notes, the company may be eager to take business and prestige away from Staples Center—chief competitor to the reopened Forum, which the Madison Square Garden Company also owns.
It’s not clear whether the Grammys might return to New York on a semi-regular basis following the 2018 event, but for now it looks as though the show’s departure from Los Angeles will continue to be a rare occurrence.