Politics & Government

Here’s how much Florida paid Pitbull to promote its ‘sexy beaches’

Visit Florida paid Miami pop music star Pitbull $1 million to promote the state on social media, in a music video and during concerts.

Pitbull took to social media Thursday morning to release details of the secret contract after the Florida House of Representatives filed suit earlier this week to force him to disclose the terms.

“It’s been an honor to represent Miami and the Sunshine State,” Pitbull wrote on Twitter. “I’ve taken Miami and Florida worldwide — WAY before any contract, and will do so way after. I love my home state. When asked to take on a New Year’s show, I INSISTED it be live from Florida. #LoveFL Since birth.....and till the day I die. Dale!”

Until now, the details of Pitbull’s promotion had been kept from public view. Visit Florida had refused to release details of its contract with the entertainer because they said the deal was a protected "trade secret." The deal covered the period from July 2015 to June 2016.

Visit Florida CEO Will Seccombe said he would not sign any future contracts prohibiting disclosure of terms. Still, he insisted the deal was a good one, allowing Visit Florida to reach an audience that avoids traditional advertising and media.

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature insisted the deal be made public so taxpayers could see how much the agency was paying Pitbull to promote Florida beaches in a music video entitled “Sexy Beaches,” which has strong sexual undertones. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a critic of Visit Florida's marketing efforts, filed a lawsuit against Pitbull's production company on Monday, challenging his claim that the contract contained trade secrets.

Pitbull's attorney initially had no comment on the suit, but on Thursday as the Florida House and Pitbull attorneys tried to negotiate a deal, Pitbull jumped on Twitter and released the entire contract online.

The deal paid Pitbull:

▪ $250,000 in July 2015 for a “talent fee” and use of his name and likeness.

▪ $250,000 went to him after he completed a music video for Sexy Beaches that included footage of Florida beaches and a social media hashtag promoting Florida.

▪ $100,000 for cutting a 10-15 second intro as part of a “Conquering Florida” video series Visit Florida uses to promote the state.

▪ $100,000 for six “Florida Pit Package” sweepstakes that would include travel packages to Florida.

▪ $300,000 for promoting Florida on social media platforms at least 2 times a month with the hashtag #loveFL.

Corcoran released a statement Thursday saying, “It is unfortunate that it took litigation to lift the veil of secrecy on this particular contract. This was a long unnecessary journey through claims of trade secrets, threats of prosecution, and corporate welfare paid for by taxpayers. The people’s House will not hesitate to use every tool at our disposal to protect the taxpayer and ensure transparency is the rule and not the exception in state government. It is my hope that the coverage this issue received will foster a larger discussion of the proper role of government in the free market and the need to end the idea that government as 'venture capitalist’ is good for our economy.”

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