E3 Drew Huge Crowds, Considering Moving From L.A.
The world's biggest video game convention experienced healthy attendance this year, drawing over 47,000 people to downtown Los Angeles. However, there is a possibility that the conference might consider a change of location in future years.
The L.A. Convention Center (which is located next to the Staples Center where the Lakers and Kings play) has been a longtime home to E3 -- with the exception of two years, 1997 (where the convention took place in Atlanta) and 2007 (when a dramatically downsized show was held in Santa Monica). Obviously, the city of Los Angeles wants to keep the convention right where it is -- especially considering that $40 million was pumped into the city's economy in the course of one week. However, the relationship between the Entertainment Software Association (the organization that stages E3 each year) and the City of Los Angeles has soured in recent months, leading to the possibility that the conference may change venues.
The dispute regards concerns over construction issues resulting from the new Farmers Field project, a sports stadium and convention center project that will be built close to the current L.A. Convention Center. This project is intended to help lure an NFL franchise to Los Angeles.
The ESA is worried that access to E3 will be inhibited by the construction project. ESA head Michael Gallagher told the Los Angeles Times, "We're still in discussions with the city of Los Angeles, but we have a number of issues that still need to be resolved. If we can't resolve them, we are preparing to go elsewhere…. 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."
An anonymous source told the times that the ESA is considering San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and New Orleans as potential E3 host cities.