The MTV Video Music Awards will be getting in touch with the great outdoors, in a bigger way than originally anticipated. Citing ongoing safety concerns during the pandemic, the network announced late Friday that Barclays Center has been nixed as a base venue for the show and that the entirety of the broadcast will now take place from open-air locations.
As far as live attendees go, the show is still keeping its options open, to have either “limited” or “no” audience at the sites where performances will take place Aug. 30.
MTV promised that the awards show, which was last held at Barclays Center in 2013, was already on the books to return there next year.
“The 2020 VMAs will be held on Sunday, August 30th and pay homage to the incredible resiliency of New York with several outdoor performances around the City with limited or no audience, adhering to all state and city guidelines,” the network said in a statement. “In close consultation with state and local health officials, it became clear at this time that outdoor performances with limited or no audience would be more feasible and safer than an indoor event. The VMAs will highlight the boroughs in an exciting show and return to Barclays Center in 2021. MTV will continue to work closely with the Department of Health, state and local officials, the medical community, and key stakeholders to ensure the safety of all involved.”
The decision may have been some time in coming, as Barclays Center had no longer been mentioned as the host site in recent announcements about talent being added for the telecast.
Keke Palmer was revealed Thursday as the show’s host. Performers announced so far include BTS, Doja Cat and J Balvin. Leading nominees are Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga, with nine each.