San Antonio paid Top Chef $200,000 to “showcase” the city “as a premiere culinary destination”
Top Chef’s producers are suing Texas to keep details about the state’s product placement secret, but details about one Texas city’s contributions were revealed this weekend.
San Antonio was the only city to pay to be featured this season, and will be featured in eight of the 14 episodes for $200,000. Its deputy city manager, A.J. Rodriguez, told the San Antonio Express-News, “Because of our agreement with Bravo, we are unable to share specific details at this time. But we can assure you that this exposure will showcase San Antonio in a more prominent way to a national audience as a premiere culinary destination.”
The paper notes that San Antonio estimates that its $200,000 will result in “$9 million worth of media exposure for the first run of episodes as well as reruns for the U.S. alone.”
Dallas and Austin did not pay to be featured, nor did Houston, which said producers wanted $120,000 to feature the city in one episode. “They wanted us to underwrite the cost of (one) episode and they were not going to give us any editorial influence for what was shot,” Greater Houston CVB’s director of marketing and public relations told the paper. “We just felt it wasn’t worth what they were asking. They could go out to Beaumont and film oil barracks for all we know. We would have no say what that segment or episode would look like.”
Although the show’s insistence upon keeping its use of public money secret is disturbing, it’s actually reassuring to know that they wouldn’t give sponsors control over the show’s content.