Washington, D.C. (March 11, 2020)—In the face of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 NAB Show, originally set to be held in Las Vegas April 18-22, has been cancelled. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith made the announcement at 2PM EST, stating, “In the interest of addressing the health and safety concerns of our stakeholders and in consultation with partners throughout the media and entertainment industry, we have decided not to move forward with NAB Show in April.”
NAB’s decision to shelve the convention comes as a huge blow to the broadcast industry, as the event brings together a wide range of entities from across the media, entertainment and technology industries. Less than a month ago, an estimated 1,600 exhibitors and 90,000 attendees were expected to attend the confab, but as the Coronavirus outbreak continued to pick up steam worldwide, conventions in other industries began to fall by the wayside. In recent days, more and more exhibitors had dropped out of the NAB Show, a movement capped by Avid’s announcement yesterday that it would not be at the show, nor would it hold its annual adjacent conference, Avid Connect.
Smith noted that the NAB made the decision following extensive engagement with the industry. “This was not an easy decision,” he noted, adding, “Fortunately, we did not have to make this decision alone, and are grateful to our NAB Show community for engaging with us as we grappled with the rapidly-evolving situation. This Show is as much yours as it is ours, and it is important to us that we move forward together.
Noting that “keeping the community safe and healthy is NAB’s highest priority,” Smith added that the NAB is considering potential alternatives for an event possibly to be held later on in 2020, but that it was too early to offer any details.
The news of NAB 2020’s cancellation came just minutes after the World Health Organization officially declared the Coronavirus to be a worldwide pandemic. At of today, there are currently more than 120,000 cases worldwide, more than 1,000 of which are now in the U.S., where 30 people have died from the virus so far. Those numbers are expected to worsen.
“We are still weighing the best potential path forward, and we ask you for your patience as we do so,” Smith noted. “We are committed to exploring all possible alternatives so that we can provide a productive setting where the industry can engage with the latest technology, hear from industry thought leaders and make the game-changing connections that drive our industry forward.”