Tuesday, June 19, 2012

E3 could leave LA next year

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, organized by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), called Los Angeles its home for 16 of the 18 years it’s been running, but that might change next year.

The annual videogame trade show sees over 45,000 attendees who fill over 30,000 hotel rooms and generates approximately $40 million in spending on restaurants, taxis, construction work, and booth attendants according to the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The ESA noted last year that the trade show might not return to Los Angeles after 2012 due to conflicts when renewing its contract with the Los Angeles Convention Center. The main argument is a proposed remodel of the convention center to make room for Farmers Field.

However, president of the ESA, Michael Gallagher, mentioned in an interview with the LA Times that, “we have a number of issues that still need to be resolved. If we can't resolve them, we are preparing to go elsewhere.” Other locations where the trade show might call home include San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and New Orleans. The ESA cited the ease of access to the convention center during construction and sufficient show floor space as their top issues. The remodel would tear down West Hall, where Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo usually set up their booth, to make room for a stadium with a new hall built above Pico Boulevard next to South Hall.

“We need assurances on things like square footage, the quality of the space, the ease of loading and unloading equipment, signage throughout the convention center for marketing and sponsorships," Gallagher said. "We love being in Los Angeles, but we also have a show to put on.”

As someone who can almost say E3 is in my backyard, I’d hate to see it move to a different city. I’ll probably have my first experience this year attending a convention out of state for PAX in September, but I hope that the LACC and ESA can find a way to come to a compromise on these issues and keep E3 in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

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