Electronic Gaming Convention commits to L.A. through 2015

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e3 convention Electronic Gaming Convention commits to L.A. through 2015

(AP Image)

(CNS) – The operators of the nation’s largest computer and video game trade show announced today a commitment to keep the annual event in Los Angeles for three years, despite plans for major construction on and around the city’s convention center.

The decision by the Entertainment Software Association, which puts on the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is a major victory for city leaders backing a plan for a downtown football stadium and new convention hall downtown.

Anschutz Entertainment Group wants to tear down the aging West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center to build a 72,000-seat football stadium to house a National Football League team and also function as a convention space. The plans call for replacing the demolished West Hall with a new addition to the LACC South Hall.

Some critics of the project have expressed fear that the construction of the stadium, convention hall, parking structures and other elements through at least 2016 would drive conventions and trade shows out of the city, resulting in a loss of badly needed sales and hotel tax revenue.

The 2012 E3 conference in June netted about 30,000 total hotel room nights with a $40 million citywide economic impact, according to the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board.

“Video games are a dominant force in the global entertainment marketplace, and there is no better place to display that than Los Angeles. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the city and AEG,” said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the Electronic Software Association, which represents the U.S. video game industry.

The next E3 will be June 11-13, 2013. Dates for 2014 and 2015 are not set.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he personally participated in negotiations with ESA to stay in Los Angeles, but did not say what the trade show was offered for its three-year commitment. “My office was committed to doing whatever it took to keep the largest annual conference that the city hosts here for another three years,” Villaraigosa said. “I personally joined in the negotiations, and we worked with all parties to ensure the needs of E3 would be met.”

In 2012, about 45,700 video game industry professionals, investor analysts, journalists and retailers from 103 countries came together for the three-day industry trade show that generated $40 million in revenue for Los Angeles.

“Not only is E3 important for the technology and video game industry, it’s also important for tourism,” said Mark Liberman, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board. “With approximately 200 exhibitors attending this past year plus the 45,000 attendees, we recognize that all eyes are on Los Angeles during the event, and our hotels, restaurants and transportation partners are appreciative of the business gained as a result.”

The trade show began in Los Angeles in 1995 and has stayed in the city for 16 consecutive years. E3, which is not open to the public, is a trade show for software developers, buyers, retailers, distributors, entertainment industry representatives and others.

“Los Angeles is a world-class city, making it the ideal location to host the world’s leading computer and video game event. Today’s announcement underscores the faith that E3 has in our city and its future as a leading convention destination,” said Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the convention center.

“I have seen first-hand the state-of-the-art design that is being pursued for our new hall,” Perry added. “I believe that with additions like a grand ballroom and the park space at Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, we are certain to attract even more high-profile clients moving forward. Los Angeles will continue to be competitive in attracting conventions and will soon be the premier Southern California location to host large events.”

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