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CES 2021 going digital, will not return to Las Vegas in January

Posted at 7:07 AM, Jul 28, 2020

UPDATE 2:30 P.M.: The president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, owners, and operators Gary Shapiro says the decision to cancel in-person attendance at the January 2021 convention in Las Vegas was inevitable during the coronavirus pandemic.

"It came down to the fact of health and safety and the fact we produce so many people," he said. "We did not really see a good alternative."

Shapiro apologized for pulling the event that attracts roughly 175,000 to Las Vegas and, instead, hosting it as a virtual conference.

CES, the largest convention in the world, brings nearly $300,000,000 to the area economy.

"I apologize to the people of Las Vegas," Shapiro said. "I know how important this is to you, and it's important to us. I feel your pain, I feel for you, and I wish we could do something about it."

Mary Beth Sewald, president, and CEO of the Vegas Chamber says the money attracted by CES flows to every level of business in the region.

"There's going to be an impact on thousands of jobs from convention services, restaurant servers, nightclubs, shows, room services," she said.

The loss of CES to the digital world compounds existing problems caused by the coronavirus shut down and subsequent slow reopening.

13 Action News Financial Adviser Jason Baucom says the convention would have been a shot in the arm for struggling businesses.

"Over the past 6 months, 6 to 8 months, that's about half a billion-dollar impact between two events with not having the NFL Draft and this not having this convention," he said.

Shapiro says he can't predict what the future of the coronavirus pandemic will hold, but he and CTA remain committed to hosting CES in Las Vegas in 2022.

The world's largest consumer electronic show, CES, will not be returning to Las Vegas in January 2021.

The annual convention brings more than 150,000 people and hundreds of millions of dollars to the Las Vegas valley every year.

CES 2020 bringing 175K people, $300M to Las Vegas

The organizers of CES had announced in early June that it was planning to hold an in-person event with numerous restrictions and precautions.

Many people whom 13 Investigates spoke with last year believe they contracted COVID-19 at CES 2020.

Although the "CES flu" has been common for many years, attendees described feeling far worse than in past years. At least one of the attendees in 2020 later tested positive for the coronavirus antibodies.

Additionally, several hundred Las Vegas union members involved in the show reported flu-like symptoms between December and February.

Were Las Vegas conventions corona super-spreaders?

The following email was sent to previous attendees this morning:

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® today announced CES 2021® — January 6-9, 2021 — will be an all-digital experience connecting exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world. The new format will allow participants to hear from technology innovators, see cutting-edge technologies and the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world.

"Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it's just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic — and that innovation will also help us reimagine CES 2021 and bring together the tech community in a meaningful way. By shifting to an all-digital platform for 2021, we can deliver a unique experience that helps our exhibitors connect with existing and new audiences."

CES 2021 will be a new immersive experience, where attendees will have a front row seat to discover and see the latest technology. This highly personalized experience will bring a global event to the comfort and safety of your home or office.

For over 50 years, CES has been the global stage for innovation. CTA’s goal for CES 2021 is to provide an engaging platform for companies large and small to launch products, build brands and form partnerships, while prioritizing health and safety. Members of the tech community thrive by coming together, sharing ideas and introducing products that will shape our future.

Mark your calendars for the first week in January and be on the lookout for more exciting news about CES 2021. We plan to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, combining the best elements of a physical and digital show.

Thank you for your continued support. Please stay healthy and safe.