NAB Bumps April Las Vegas Show Back To October 2021 But Sticks With In-Person Plan – Update

By Ted Johnson, Dade Hayes


The National Association of Broadcasters has pushed its annual convention in Las Vegas from its usual April slot to October 2021.

The new dates will be October 9-13. Given its scale, with tens of thousands of attendees coming from around the world, there are a host of travel and logistics concerns in mounting the show, one of the largest staged annually at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In recent years, it has drawn a cross-section of TV, streaming and tech-world figures as it has evolved from its local broadcasting roots.

“We have witnessed growing concern and uncertainty over what the next six months will bring,” NAB chief Gordon Smith wrote in an update Wednesday. “Enough that there appears to be a good deal of reluctance around participating in large events in the first half of next year. The pandemic remains a significant threat and the evidence suggests it will be well into next year before it could be under control in the U.S. We also have our own concerns around being able to deliver the type of event in April that will not only drive results, but one that can be produced safely for all involved and without significant limitations on the experience.”

A smaller but growing satellite event, NAB Show New York, will need to look at alternatives to its usual October berth at the Javits Center.

Elements of the 2020 edition of the NAB Show, which was canceled in March, migrated online.

PREVIOUSLY: The National Association of Broadcasters annual convention in Las Vegas is off in April because of concerns over the coronavirus.

The trade group’s president, Gordon Smith, wrote in a letter to attendees,  “In the interest of addressing the health and safety concerns of our stakeholders and in consultation with partners throughout the media and entertainment industry, we have decided not to move forward with NAB Show in April. We are currently considering a number of potential alternatives to create the best possible experience for our community.”

The convention, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, is one of the bigger gatherings in the city each year, drawing an attendance of more than 91,000 last year.

Smith said that they are exploring alternatives, including an event later in the year.

“We are still weighing the best potential path forward, and we ask you for your patience as we do so,” Smith wrote. “We are committed to exploring all possible alternatives so that we can provide a productive setting where the industry can engage with the latest technology, hear from industry thought leaders and make the game-changing connections that drive our industry forward.”

Smith wrote that “keeping the community safe and healthy is NAB’s highest priority; therefore, we are deferring to the developing consensus from public health authorities on the challenges posed by coronavirus.”

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