Comdex once was
the hottest trade show
ticket in Las Vegas.
How the mighty have fallen: In late June,
MediaLive International canceled the 2004 Comdex technology event,
scheduled to open Nov. 14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Comdex was once touted as the best-attended trade show in the
United States, drawing an estimated 200,000 attendees as recently
“We could have run the show profitably this year, but it wasn’t
in the best interest of the industry or the brand without the
broader support of technology vendors,” said Eric Faurot, general
manager of Comdex.
The past few years have seen a drastic falloff in both
exhibitors and attendees at the event, due to factors such as the
dot-com bust, the drop in post-9/11 international travel and the
exhibition industry’s trend toward more specialized trade
MediaLive International Inc., San Francisco-based owner of the
25-year-old show, plans to revive Comdex by narrowing its focus to
business-to-business information technology while de-emphasizing
consumer trade. In a display of confidence, the company has
tentatively booked Comdex 2005 at the Las Vegas Convention Center
for Nov. 13-17 next year.
“The $915 billion IT industry needs an annual gathering, which
is why we’ve built an advisory board of vendors to really help
shape what this event should look like,” added Faurot.
Despite Comdex’s difficulties, this year’s cancellation
shocked industry leaders. “It’s surprising to a lot of people for
the organizer of a major show to essentially take a time out and
reconsider the basic mission and direction of the event,” said
Steven Hacker, president of the International Association for
Exhibition Management. “I give the managers credit for some
unprecedented activity here. It takes courage to say, ‘This is not
business as usual, and we’re going to take some extraordinary
The loss of Comdex this November will not significantly lessen
Las Vegas’ overall trade show revenue. “November is still a strong
month here,” said a spokesperson for the Las Vegas Convention and
Visitors Authority. “Plus, Comdex signed a lease for 2004, and they
have a penalty clause. We are in negotiations over that issue right