The NAB’s Las Vegas convention makes up 70% of the organization’s revenue. In trying to save its 2021 show, after canceling in 2020, the organization pushed the event from April to October. Then, last month, announced vaccine proof would be required.
It wasn’t enough.
Nevada continues to be labeled a place with high COVID-19 transmission and Clark County, where the NAB show is held, remains “an area of concern,” according to The White House. The county was labeled a COVID-19 “sustained hot spot” on July 5.
The NAB convention, when times are normal, brings in over 100,000 people and big-name vendors from all over the world. It’s one of three top annual trade shows held in Las Vegas. As Delta variant cases increased, big vendors like SONY, Cannon and Adobe pulled out of the show and The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that travel into McCarran International airport is non-existent.
With two years in a row of not having its top revenue generator, what does this mean for the NAB’s financial soundness? NAB Board of Directors Executive Committee Chair, Salem Media Group President, David Santrella told Radio Ink Wednesday that the NAB Board worked with the leadership team following the cancellation of the 2020 NAB Show on a financial game-plan that ensures its long-term health. “While I’m disappointed that the NAB Show cannot be held this year, I know that due in part to steps we took last year, the association is in a good financial position going forward to remain effective for our industry.”
One of the steps taken last year was a one-time assessment on all radio and TV members equal to their membership dues. Will that be enough to for the organization to keep serving broadcasters at such a high level? Legend Communications Managing Partner Larry Patrick is on the NAB Radio Board. “The cancellation of the NAB convention in Las Vegas will create significant financial pressure on the association. The convention provides the majority of the revenues for NAB. It will take time to evaluate the impact given lost deposits, cancellation fees for events and other costs. The NAB and its Board will have to find a way forward to protect American broadcasting and continue to represent us aggressively in Washington.”
Bustos Media President Amador Bustos is also a member of the NAB Radio Board. “As difficult as it has been, both cancellations have been the right thing to do. This will not alter the work or financial soundness of the NAB. The BIG one will be the convention scheduled for April 2022. Hopefully, more people will come to their senses and get vaccinated so all of us can get past these troubles.”
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority issued a statement following the NAB’s decision to cancel the show. “We deeply value our three-decade long partnership with NAB and will greatly miss seeing their exhibitors and attendees this fall. We eagerly await the show’s return in April.”
The 2022 NAB Show is scheduled for April 23-27.
‘Ohana Media Group Owner Trila Bumstead is also on the NAB Radio Board. “I was very much looking forward to reconnecting with my fellow radio broadcasters in-person in Las Vegas in October, but I support the decision to cancel the Show. NAB has worked hard to maintain financial stability while continuing to deliver wins on Capitol Hill and at the FCC. I believe our trade association is well-positioned to serve members into the future.”
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, no other conventions or trade shows have been canceled.