What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. After 18 years, the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards is leaving town for good. This week, ACM announced the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas as the permanent new home for its annual awards show, beginning with its 58th iteration on May 11, 2023.
“We can’t wait to take the show to a new level for fans with an exciting new venue and integrated partnership with the Dallas Cowboys,” ACM CEO Damon Whiteside Whiteside said in a statement.
In the past 18 years, the ACMs have been staged at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, MGM Grand Garden Arena, T-Mobile Arena and Allegiant Stadium, straying only twice from Vegas — in 2015 to mark the 50th ACM Awards at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and in 2020 to temporarily relocate to Nashville while Vegas initially shut down for COVID-19.
The Cowboys are the Stealers
According to a report in the Frisco Enterprise, the move is not a rebuff of Las Vegas, but a sign of how powerful the Dallas Cowboys are as a brand tie-in opportunity. The Ford Center at The Star opened in 2015 as the football team’s state-of-the-art, 12,000-seat practice facility.
“They are a nationally recognized brand, an internationally recognized brand, the most valuable sports franchise in the world, and so it creates … that halo effect,” said Josh Dill of Visit Frisco, the city’s marketing arm. “People go, ‘I want to be around something that is successful.’ And the Cowboys have great relationships with the Academy of Country Music, and that’s really where it started.”
Amazon Prime Video will live-stream the event on May 11, 2023, as it did last year, helping the ACMs make history as the first awards show to move from being a staple of network broadcasting for decades to a purely streaming platform.
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