Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Convention Centers Compete to Prove Who's the Nation's Largest

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Convention Centers Compete to Prove Who's the Nation's Largest

Article excerpt

After 13 years, the nation's second largest trade show, the Super Show, is threatening to leave Atlanta for larger digs.

"The problem is that we have run out of space," says John Riddle, president of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, which owns the show.

It's a familiar dilemma for cities competing for convention dollars. The revenue the shows generate can be huge -- the Super Show's weeklong run pumps an estimated $80 million into Atlanta's economy each February -- but host cities are at the mercy of the convention industry's seemingly insatiable appetite for more exhibition space. At least eight of the nation's largest 10 convention centers hope to expand in a trend experts say is fueled mainly by pressure from clients crying out for more room. To Riddle, one of the reasons the shows are getting so large is because they are attracting more international visitors. Of the roughly 100,000 who attended the show this year, about 25,000 were from other countries, he said. Others point to the booming economy and the recent trend of consolidating shows. Many shows are large by design in the hope that sheer size will generate excitement. …

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