NEWS SPECIAL: Viva Las Vegas?

Samantha Loveday

By Samantha Loveday

February 14th 2008 at 2:58PM
NEWS SPECIAL: Viva Las Vegas?

Industry split over decision to move Licensing International to the city?s Mandalay Bay in 2009.

“A far superior venue”; “a very positive move”; “disappointing”; “not a good move for the international sector”. These are just a few of the comments from key licensing industry executives on hearing the news that Licensing International will be moving from New York to Las Vegas next year – showing that Advanstar has divided the business with its decision.

The 2009 event is due to run from June 2nd to 4th at the Mandalay Bay Resort’s conference centre; a move which some are delighted with.

“We think that it will be a far superior venue and will undoubtedly represent better value for money in terms of exhibiting as well as for travel, accommodation and entertaining,” Denise Deane, managing director of Brand Champions told Licensing.biz. “The show has long outgrown the Javits and will no doubt benefit enormously from the move in terms of growth, which should have a direct and positive impact on the licensing industry.”

Janet Woodward, Coolabi’s head of licensing, agreed: “New York was becoming very tired and familiar and hopefully Vegas will introduce a new raft of potential licensees who wouldn’t have made the trip to New York. Cheaper floor space and hotel rooms will be very welcome.”

The lower cost of exhibition space is understood to be one of the key reasons for the move away from the Jacob Javits Center in New York. “We are hoping this will offset the increased cost of travel and accommodation associated with our staff having to travel from [our head office in] New York,” said The Beanstalk Group’s Ciaran Coyle.

“All in all, I think it’s an exciting move,” offered Granada’s head of licensing, Mel Beer, “but it is further than New York, and more cut off in many ways, so my only concern is that the show maintains the calibre of retailers and licensees.”

Indeed, is it the additional distance of Las Vegas which seems to be the sticking point for many.

“I find the move disappointing when viewed from the perspective of those attending from the EMEA,” said Hakan Durdag from ELC. “The additional hassle and distance needed to get to Las Vegas will lead to our company re-evaluating whether or not to attend each year. New York was good not only for its relative proximity, but also ideal because many of the licensors also had major offices in the city, which we visited either during, just before or after the show.

“I believe reasons such as these will lead to EMEA based international companies to begin concentrating more heavily on the Brand Licensing show in London from 2009 onwards.”

Co-managing director of 4Kids, Stephen Gould concurred with Durdag, saying: “I would prefer to see the show remaining in New York in a city and at a venue that is well known to most and virtually now a second home to the majority attending.”

Meanwhile, Smileyworld’s Nicolas Loufrani went one step further, commenting: “A show selling products to kids and having on board many of the biggest kids entertainment companies should not be associated with Las Vegas, which despite its effort in the last years to become an entertainment city, remains simply one of the saddest places in the world.”