June 2014

Blockbuster events showcase Las Vegas' planning power

by Jeff Heilman

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When it comes to hosting major gatherings, Las Vegas, offering the equivalent of 185 football fields of meeting and exhibit space, has few peers. As the city’s bid video for the 2016 GOP convention confidently states: “Las Vegas is ready. This is what we do.”

Why Las Vegas for big-league events? Reflecting its show diversity, representatives from the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) and the Soul Train Music Awards join Pat Christensen, president of Las Vegas Events, in offering the insider perspective.

Talk about blockbuster growth. In just the last five years, International CES—the global gathering place for consumer technology—has grown from 126,641 attendees, 2,477 exhibitors and 1.4 million net square feet to 160,498 attendees and 3,673 exhibitors utilizing 2.06 million net square feet.

Utilizing the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center and six hotels, including the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino for what was its largest show ever this year, CES will revisit these venues in 2015 while adding the massive Sands Expo & Convention Center.


Owned and produced by the Arlington, Va.-based Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which represents the $208 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry, the show, which made its Vegas debut in 1978, is the perfect analogue for the city’s hosting prowess.

“Las Vegas is one of the only cities in the world with the infrastructure to support 150,000 visitors,” says Allison Fried, CEA’s senior manager of international communications. “Other destinations may offer comparable space for CES’s convention needs, but few have the requisite sleeping rooms, and in such immediate vicinity to the show floor.”

Praising the city’s “seamless facilitation of events of this caliber,” Fried notes that Las Vegas is ideally equipped for the “face-to-face, personal component” of the show.

“The transportation system, accommodations, entertainment and unique dining offerings of Vegas only enhance the overall CES experience,” she says, “and we are thrilled to return here each January.”

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