Broadcasters expo leaves rich benefits for Las Vegas

The party was winding down.

Work crews were busy rolling miles of electrical cable into neat, compact bundles Wednesday afternoon and hauling mounds of black storage cases into the large conference room of the Las Vegas Convention Center's South Hall.

Industrial scissor lifts were slowly rising to the ceiling, as black curtains were folded for use another day.

The 2012 National Association of Broadcasters Show is history at noon today, but many of the 100,000-plus participants and 1,600 exhibitors were already gone by Wednesday afternoon, leaving behind 30 or so Freeman Co. workers and stagehands who were quickly disassembling the room at the end of another in a never-ending stream of Las Vegas conventions and trade shows.

Freeman, which has been staging shows in Las Vegas since 1948, had also handled the move-in and setup for the show, which is one of the biggest of the year. It employed more than 780 workers during peak preparation, plus another 200 in on-site warehouses. The crews included members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Teamsters and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

As workers were taking down the show's temporary walls, displays and other infrastructure, Steve Anderson, the company's senior vice president of business development, said it's unlikely that any of the crews would have had work this week without the massive conference.

"It just speaks for a really healthy industry," he said.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimates the 2012 NAB show had a nongaming economic impact of $122.2 million for the city.

To put that number into perspective, Anderson noted that an employee of Aramark, the company that operates the convention center's on-site eateries, told him that the center's Lucky's Restaurant saw $13,000 in sales each hour on Monday's opening day of the NAB.

"That's just the ripple effect," Anderson said.

Another measure of the size of that ripple is the authority's income from renting its 4,845 parking spaces around the center for $10 per stall, per day. The number of available spots varies by show because some use more outdoor space than others. But the cumulative revenue is impressive.

For the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in January, parking revenues totaled approximately $101,500, while the February MAGIC Convention brought in approximately $80,000. The authority hasn't added up the take from NAB parking this year, but the show in 2011 threw off $113,500 in parking fees.

Contact Review-Journal reporter Laura Carroll at or 380-4588.


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