It’s happening! The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards are a go. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York made the announcement during his Monday (June 29) press briefing, telling viewers that the annual ceremony would be held in Brooklyn.
As the governor announced that New York City would be entering Phase III of reopening on July 6, he shared the unexpected news. “The Video Music Awards are going to be held Sunday, Aug. 30, at Barclays Center,” he said.
The slide displayed at the time also noted that “the event will follow all safety guidance, including limited or no audience.”
“We’re elated to bring the 2020 ‘VMAs’ back to NYC, the cultural mecca of the world where music and entertainment are woven into the DNA,” said Bruce Gillmer, President of Music, Music Talent, Programming & Events for ViacomCBS Media Networks, in press release.
“The 2020 MTV VMAs will be the first Barclays Center event since the COVID-19 pandemic reached New York,” added Oliver Weisberg, the CEO of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets. This will be the VMAs second time at the Barclays Center; the venue previously hosted the event in 2013.
Per the press release, the event will “span all five boroughs,” and will “include extensive social distancing procedures, meaningful capacity limitations, [and] the virtualization of components where possible.” And as Cuomo noted in his presser, there will be a limited or no audience.
In May, MTV told Billboard in a statement that they were looking into the possibility of safely holding the event live. “We’re exploring with government officials, the medical community, and key stakeholders on how to safely hold the 2020 VMAs at Barclays Center,” an MTV spokesperson said at the time. “The health of everyone involved remains our No. 1 priority. Additionally, we are working on several contingency plans to bring music’s biggest night to audiences everywhere.”
At the time, New York was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, the state has significantly reduced the number of new infections, and has been gradually reopening. Meanwhile, cases of COVID-19 have been spiking elsewhere around the country.
Watch Cuomo’s VMAs announcement, which begins at roughly the 12:30 mark: