As law enforcement officials and politicians continue to process last night’s mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, major entertainment conventions also are taking stock. Even though they only run for a few days at a time, conventions includig CES, NAB Show, CinemaCon and Licensing Show attract CEOs, stars and thousands of other industry figures, sponsors, customers and fans for concentrated periods of time.
For most people working in media and entertainment, a typical year involves at least a jaunt or two to Vegas, and recent high-profile boxing tilts have underscored the city’s status as a frequent stop. While the city has had a vibrant connection with show business since before the Rat Pack, the maturation of Las Vegas and the overall expansion of the convention business has made it a fixture. With a new NHL franchise and the arrival soon of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, the intersection should only continue to intensify.
CES, held the first week of January, is the largest annual convention in Las Vegas and has continued to scale thanks to the boom in digital and mobile innovation. Its most recent edition drew a crowd of 184,000.
“We are all shocked and saddened by the tragic shooting last night in Las Vegas,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, in a statement. “As host to CES, the city is like a second home to the entire CES family. We, like so many across the nation, are waiting to hear that our family and friends are safe. Our hearts and prayers are with the entire Las Vegas community.”
The NAB, whose annual show last April attracted 103,000 attendees, offered a tweet this morning: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Las Vegas today,” and its handle retweeted member stations’ breaking-news coverage. Gordon Smith, the group’s president and CEO, then followed up with a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of last night’s tragedy and their families, and our hearts go out to the people of Las Vegas,” Smith said. “The city has welcomed the NAB Show with open arms over the years and proven a gracious host for our attendees. We stand united with the Las Vegas community during this difficult time.”
Organizers of the Licensing Show referred questions to the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. David DuBois, president and CEO of the IAEE, released a statement reading in part: “As an exhibitions and events and hospitality industry, we must continue to enhance our safety and security protocols and procedures and do our best to mitigate these types of tragic incidents.”
Representatives of CinemaCon did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment.
One advantage the convention business has compared with a music festival or other outdoor event, of course, is that its events are largely held indoors. CES and NAB are mostly based at the city’s sprawling convention center, which is about a mile from the Strip, while CinemaCon and Licensing Show are held at Strip hotels. In fact, the latter event has been held each June for the past few years at Mandalay Bay, the hotel-casino where gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor.