Electronics show says ‘see-ya’ to space at Sands

Organizers of the largest annual trade show and convention in North America are walking out on space at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Officials at the Consumer Electronics Association confirmed Wednesday they will abandon the Sands’ exhibit floor for the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show and consolidate at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Hilton.

The electronics show attracted 113,000 people for its 2009 show and leased nearly 2 million square feet at the Las Vegas Convention Center, plus 108,850 square feet at the Sands.

In 2010, the plan is to fit everything in the Las Vegas Convention Center and the attached Las Vegas Hilton, along with some suites for exhibitors and press events at The Venetian, said Jason Oxman, senior vice president of industry affairs at the Consumer Electronics Association. Next year’s show is scheduled for Jan. 7-10.

“We have had, I think, an epiphany, in analyzing feedback from exhibitors and attendees,” Oxman said. “The show had gotten too big. The show’s venues were too spread out.”

The show had been in both the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands in the early 1990s, until the South Hall addition at the former. A portion of the event moved back to the Sands in 2006.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. spokesman Ron Reese said the electronics show will still have value to the company’s two resort properties, The Venetian and Palazzo.

“It has to be kept in perspective,” Reese said. “The show is still going to occupy thousands of room nights at our hotel here.”

Reese declined comment on whether there was any cancellation fee associated with the decision.

The change will eliminate the need for constant shuttle bus runs between the Sands Expo and Convention Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is a significant expense for organizers and an ordeal for attendees who wait in long lines to cram onto crowded buses that have to navigate crushing traffic jams.

It could also take some steam out of the Adult Entertainment Expo, a pornography industry show that had shared the Sands Expo and Convention Center with CES and has drawn significant foot traffic from the gadget convention.

Representatives of the adult entertainment show did not respond to a call for comment before deadline.

In recent years CES has been working to reduce the number of attendees.

After the event attracted more than 150,000 attendees in 2006, exhibitors and attendees complained it had gotten too big and was in danger of becoming too unwieldy.

The Consumer Electronics Association increased restrictions on who could attend in an effort to bring the event under control.

In 2009 the economy contributed to the downsizing effort; attendance was down double-digit percentages. But organizers said exhibitors were happy with the outcome.

“They found the quality of attendees to be better this year,” Oxman said. “More people there to do business as opposed to trick-or-treaters as they’re called.”

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861.

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