There's been talk lately that the Entertainment Software Association was shopping around for another city in which to hold the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, as long-time host city Los Angeles was losing some of its luster. Nearby hotels and restaurants had taken to gouging people in town for the show, plus the city had plans to demolish part of the Los Angeles Convention Center grounds to make way for a new stadium. It's very difficult to hold a successful E3 amid ongoing construction, after all. Who could blame the ESA for talking with places such as New York City, New Orleans, and Chicago? However, as Polygon reports, the ESA has come to an agreement with Los Angeles that will keep the show in place for the next three years.
While the construction was chief among the issues discussed between the association and the Los Angeles Mayor, AEG and the convention center, the ESA also had other concerns, Gallagher said. The association had over recent years received complaints of what Gallagher described as "opportunism" at some of the venues around the convention center. Some of the hotels and restaurants in the area were hiking their prices for rooms or swapping out menus for high-priced meals, when the convention center rolled into town.
"If E3 is the highest return on investment trade show in LA we deserve better than that," Gallagher said.
So among the negotiating points with the three LA groups was a request for more hotel access for show attendees and a promise that restaurants wouldn't hike their prices for the week of the show, something the city, AEG and the convention center managed to guarantee.
"We worked through those issues on hotel access to ensure we would have access to more hotels at a higher quality and a fair price," Gallagher said. "And they agreed to avoid the gouging that we had received a few examples of."
The biggest concern, that looming construction, was also settled. The city, convention center and the backers of Farmers Field promised to put on hold any construction that would impact the show or the ability to access the convention center in the days surrounding E3.
I'm glad that the two groups were able to settle their issues and hopefully the new arrangement will allow for even better E3s. The price of attending had become an issue in recent years (outrageous hotel costs are the reason why I chose not to attend this year), but if the city can make the local hotels keep their end of the bargain and the looming construction does not interfere with the show, then I can see E3 continue to thrive in its present location. People have wanted to see it move to another city for a while and it would certainly be better for me not to have to fly all the way across the country to attend, but I'm not so sure that Chicago or New Orleans would have been a better fit. Los Angeles may not be perfect, but it's worked pretty well so far in my experience, though I have to wonder just how serious the ESA was about moving the show. This could all have been a negotiating tactic to secure a better deal from Los Angeles. Either way, as long as the cost to attend drops a bit and construction doesn't impede convention center access, I'll be happy.