Attendance at NAB show falls sixteen percent

Attendance at the National Association of Broadcasters convention hits three year low, but at least you could get a cab.

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By  Marcus Webb Published  April 18, 2002

Attendance at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas fell sixteen per cent, from 113,000 to 95,000. NAB president Edward Fritts attributed the slump to a poor economy and to aftershocks from the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“A certain fear of travel [and] the economy worldwide is not doing well, quite frankly,” said Fritts, who noted that other industry shows have suffered attendance declines.

Speaking at the end of the conference last week, Fritts explained that a show of about 100,000 people is about the right size for the Las Vegas infrastructure.

“You need to have a convention that is manageable, that operates on a scale that allows attendees to move about the city,” he proclaimed. “If you are going to dinner and you have to go an hour-and-a-half early to go stand in a taxi line, it is discouraging. It does not enhance the experience.”

The NAB's biggest show ever was in 2000, when it attracted 115,000 people at the peak of the Internet boom.

“There were hundreds of those companies that were not in business the following year,” commented Fritts.

He added that he did not expect the attendance slump to continue next year if the economy continues to revive.

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