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E3 Uneasy About L.A. Stadium Project; Could Relocate for 2013

Hil Anderson
, Senior Editor
June 22, 2012
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By Hil Anderson, senior editor

Los Angeles, CA – The uncertainty about the impact that building a new football stadium would have on the Los Angeles Convention Center in the next few years has the organizers of the prestigious Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) looking at possibly relocating to another city.

As of mid-June, The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) had yet to announce a venue for E3 2013 and confirmed that it had concerns the huge construction project could not only impede access to the neighboring convention center but leave the show without enough exhibit space.

An added wrinkle to the discussions was the departure of Pouria Abbassi, the long time general manager of the convention center, in early June. The city did not immediately name a replacement.

A key element of the Farmers Field project is the razing of the convention center’s West Hall to make room for the stadium and replacing it with new exhibit space next to the South Hall. Proponents of the project have said the renovation would not disrupt trade shows at the center. But the construction schedule is far from being set and ESA officials are apparently not yet convinced that their huge video gaming show would go on without some risk.

“We are in negotiations to ensure E3 continues to be a best-in-class and invaluable experience for our members, exhibitors and attendees,” said Rich Taylor, ESA senior vice president of communications. “There are several areas that still need to be resolved and we need the city to fully appreciate the value E3 brings to Los Angeles.”

ESA President Michael Gallagher told reporters during E3 those unanswered questions were critical to a show that drew 45,700 attendees, about 200 exhibitors and a large media contingent in its June 5-7 run. "We need assurances on things like square footage, the quality of the space, the ease of loading and unloading equipment, and signage throughout the convention center for marketing and sponsorships," he said. "We love being in Los Angeles, but we also have a show to put on."

The ESA and its show managers from IDG Expo have a cap on attendance at E3, which presumes the show is not outgrowing the Los Angeles Convention Center; however the ESA said the video gaming industry itself was booming and the show needed to be accommodated.

“The video game industry is growing and reaching scores of millions of consumers around the world and the show is growing to reflect this energy and passion,” said Taylor. “We hope the city can recognize this fact and work with us to resolve areas of concern."

Reach Rich Taylor at (202) 223‐2400 or rtaylor@theesa.comrtaylor@theesa.com

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