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CEO DATELINE – NAB cancels trade show, citing COVID-19 surge, 'insurmountable challenges'

Sept. 15, 2021
By Walt Williams

The National Association of Broadcasters has canceled a trade show scheduled for October in Las Vegas because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The announcement came a few days after two of the event’s largest exhibitors—Sony Electronics and Canon—pulled out, citing concerns about employee safety amid the pandemic, The Hollywood Reporter reported at the time.

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The 2021 NAB Show was officially canceled because “the pandemic and surge of the Delta variant has presented unexpected and insurmountable challenges for our global community,” the association said in a statement. The association reiterated that it plans to hold its 2022 show in April. The 2021 show had been pushed back from the spring to the fall because of the pandemic. 

NAB is one of the larger association-produced events in the U.S., with the 2019 show attracting more than 91,000 attendees. The 2020 show was canceled because of COVID-19. The association hoped to mount a comeback for the event this fall and implemented several safety measures, including requiring proof of vaccination for attending.

“As we have always kept the best interest and safety of the industry as our priority, it has become apparent in the face of these challenges that we can no longer effectively host NAB Show or our co-located events, the Radio Show and Sales and Management Television Exchange, in person,” NAB said.

NAB joins a small but growing list of associations that have canceled upcoming events amid rising COVID-19 numbers. Other events are moving forward as planned. The National Mining Association is holding its MINExpo International conference in Las Vegas this week. PMMI’s PACK EXPO Las Vegas and the National Grocers Association’s NGA Show, also in Las Vegas, are next week. NAB is also still planning to hold its 2022 show in April.

“While we are disappointed that we will not be together again in person next month, we look forward to converging in Las Vegas at the 2022 NAB Show, April 23-27, 2022, to reignite our passion for our business and focus on a bright future ahead,” the association said.