The NAB show is seen at the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2018. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

NAB returns to Las Vegas Convention Center after 2-year absence

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Traditionally one of the city’s largest annual trade shows, the National Association of Broadcasters arrives Saturday in Las Vegas after a two-year absence for a five-day event.

The show will bring technology, video content and the companies that produce them together under one roof at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

While there have been no attendance estimates projected this year, the show — a grouping of several smaller associations that meet to discuss program content and how it’s delivered to consumers – is expected to be smaller this year as the Washington-based association gears up after canceling events in 2020 and 2021 as a health precaution brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association is requiring proof of full COVID vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to be admitted to the show.

At its peak in 2016 and 2017, the show drew more than 100,000 participants to the convention center.

The show is being sandwiched between two weekends featuring sold-out concerts for the Korean K-pop group BTS at Allegiant Stadium and the three-day NFL Draft, which is expected to occupy several blocks around Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road Thursday through April 30.

More than 900 companies, including 160 first-time exhibitors, are expected to occupy most of the exhibit halls of the convention center. A quarter of the show’s attendees are expected to attend from 38 countries outside the United States.

“We are reimagining NAB Show to more closely mirror today’s media, entertainment and technology ecosystem in a way that is intuitive and makes it easier for attendees to navigate the event,” Chris Brown, executive vice president and managing director, global connections and events, said when the show’s arrival was first confirmed in August. “We are also thrilled to offer new curated experience zones designed to spotlight innovation, stimulate meaningful networking, inspire new ways of thinking and provide premium education, insights and a focus on real-world implementation.”

The April 2020 NAB show was one of the first major trade shows to be shut down by COVID-19. The show also couldn’t return in its usual April 2021 time slot because the city didn’t reopen for large gatherings until June 2021.

NAB organizers had made plans for an Oct. 9-13 show, but abruptly canceled that in mid-September when the delta variant of COVID-19 picked up steam weeks before the scheduled opening.

NAB attendees will get their first look at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s new West Hall with the “Connect” and “Intelligent Content” exhibits scheduled to be there. Companies including Verizon, AT&T, Bitcentral, Sencore, Xperi and RCS will be there as well as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, MediaKind and Veritone.

Television network affiliates for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox are expected to gather for the show.

Among the highlights of the show will be FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel presenting a Monday morning “fireside chat” with NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt. Also on Monday, actor, director and educator LeVar Burton will receive the first-ever Insight Award from the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation for his contributions to broadcasting, history and American culture during the NAB Show Welcome on Monday.

The event’s trade show opens its doors Monday through Wednesday.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.





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