In one of the least exciting Bachelorette episodes in recent memory, Becca Kufrin corralled her merry gang of gentlemen suitors for a week of, uh, “activities” in Richmond, Virginia, last week. There was a debate. A graveyard. A boat. The governor showed up! It really wasn’t that fun, especially when other, sexier cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles were previously in the mix. (Let the record show this writer went to college in Virginia and had a wonderful time.) And thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, we now know Virginia tourism officials had to fork over a pretty penny for two hours of ho-hum promotion.
As first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, it was revealed that the state paid $536,000 in incentives to get The Bachelorette to film there, which required the show “to mention the state’s ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ tourism campaign and provide a link to the state’s tourism page on the show’s website.” Even if the episode’s activities didn’t tickle your travel fancy — “unhappy” hour, anyone? — tourism officials say the state received $47 million “in publicity value” from the exposure, owing to millions of viewers who tuned in. Charlotte, North Carolina, must be feeling really dumb right about now.