Miss America Final

Nia Franklin may be the last Miss America crowned in Atlantic City after it was announced this year’s competition is moving to the Mohegan Sun.

Miss America is once again leaving Atlantic City.

The 2020 Miss America Competition is moving to Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The finals of the event will be held Thursday, Dec. 19, according to NBC.

“The Miss America Organization is proud to partner with Mohegan Sun as we return to our longtime NBC home,” said Regina Hopper, president & CEO of the Miss America Organization. “We are looking forward to a fresh take on this historic competition that will showcase the incredible women vying for the job of Miss America 2020.”

The event will be held in the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena.

The pageant will also move the event’s date from the traditional week after Labor Day to six days before Christmas.

The final night of competition, traditionally on Sunday, will also move to a Thursday night.

MAO has not released information regarding the preliminary competitions or if there will still be pageant week events including the “Show Us Your Shoes” parade.

“It’s sad when an era such as Miss America comes to an end, as this pageant has left a major mark on this history of Atlantic City. But the only constant we have is change,” Mayor Frank Gilliam said in a statement.

The Miss America pageant started in Atlantic City in 1921 and grew to become a national event televised live from Boardwalk Hall for more than 50 years.

“I’m very disappointed,” said former Miss America and Ventnor resident Suzette Charles, “It’s a part of Atlantic City’s history and (the pageant) means so much to the community.”

In 2005, the Miss America pageant was moved from Atlantic City to Las Vegas for eight years. It then returned in 2013 incentivized by a state subsidy.

Over six years, MAO received more than $20 million from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, as well as several thousand free and discounted rooms and suites, meals and transportation to the organization.

The future of the pageant had been up in the air after CRDA did not renew the subsidy contract following the Miss America 2019 Competition.

For the first six months of 2019, no announcement was made by MAO regarding the location or date of the upcoming competition as states held their local pageants.

Pageant officials were looking into other venues in the city including casinos, to host the pageant in an effort to reduce production expenses, according to emails obtained by The Press through an Open Public Records Act request.

“It’s a shame. Atlantic City didn’t come up to bat financially and in a lot of ways,” said David Holtzman, executive director of the Miss New Jersey pageant. “I know (MAO) wanted to have it here.”

Holtzman said he was informed about the decision during a conference call with the MAO leadership and other state pageants just after 2 p.m. Tuesday.

In September, MAO sent out requests for proposals to cities, including Atlantic City, to host the 2020 and 2021 pageants.

Submissions were due by October, with the location to be selected by December, 2018.

The MAO said it would require a host city or venue to provide $2.5 million to $4.9 million for production costs and more than 4,289 individual room stays for staff, contestants, family and pageant judges during the pageant’s two weeks.

Its unclear what type of subsidy or if any the pageant received from the casino.

Connecticut did not provide the pageant with any financial incentives to make the move, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Economic Development said.

“We’re thrilled to be hosting an impact event like the Miss America Competition in December,” said Ray Pineault, president and general manager of Mohegan Sun.

“We look forward to working with both MAO & NBC on what will be a tremendous evening.”

Ticket information will be announced at a later date, according to Mohegan Sun.

Press staff writers Amanda Auble and Michelle Brunetti-Post contributed to this report.

Contact: 609-272-7286 LCarroll@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPress_LC

Staff Writer

Joined the Press in November 2016. Graduate of Quinnipiac University. Previously worked as a freelance reporter in suburban Philadelphia and news/talk radio producer.

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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