The glitz, glamor and swimsuits of the Miss USA beauty pageant may be returning to steamy South Florida.
Donald Trump, who owns the pageant and recently invested $250 million to renovate the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, told the Miami Herald on Monday that it’s “a real possibility” that the 61-year-old pageant would be held at the resort next summer.
“We’ll make a determination over the next couple of months,” he said. “I’d love to have it happen.”
Monday, Trump backed off a news report filed after Sunday’s Miss USA 2013 pageant in Las Vegas that he would move the event to Doral for the next three years.
Broadcast network NBC has given its blessing should Doral be chosen, he said. But other cities — including Las Vegas — are vying to host the event, and a final choice has not been determined.
“It’s a little bit early for us to make a commitment right now,” he said. He would not name the other cities.
After reading news reports about the potential move, Rolando Aedo, chief marketing officer of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Monday that he was aware of recent conversations over the pageant coming to Doral.
“It sounded like a great opportunity to showcase not just greater Miami and Doral, but also the property,” he said, calling the Doral resort “legendary.”
Doral City Manager Joe Carollo confirmed that no deal has been reached, but he said he has been working on bringing local governments together and seek private sponsorships to bring the annual beauty pageant to the Miami area.
“I’m looking for Doral to team up with the county and possibly other governments and get the money from the private sector,” he said.
Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower said she has had an initial discussion with Carollo about possibly holding events surrounding the pageant in her city, but she is waiting for Doral to develop a plan before agreeing to anything.
“We’re interested,” she said. “It depends on exactly when it happens and how much it would cost.”
Trump and Carollo declined to discuss potential costs, saying it’s too early. But Miami Beach engaged in talks to bring Miss USA to the Beach in December 2011 and determined the price tag was too high.
Max Sklar, director of tourism, culture and economic development in Miami Beach, said pageant organizers were asking for about $1 million in a combination of cash and in-kind contributions, including hotel rooms, venue rentals and airline tickets.
“We couldn’t get the deal far enough along where everybody was happy,” he said.
The Miss USA pageant was held in Miami Beach from 1960 to 1971, with the exception of one year. The event returned to the area in 1986, when it was held at the James L. Knight International Center in downtown Miami.
Carollo said he’s hopeful a deal will be reached so Doral and the Miami area can get a moment in the spotlight next summer.