Weekly Insights: Convention Centers in the News

newsIn case there is any lingering doubt that trade shows are rebounding after the recession, this week Las Vegas made a bold statement: the Mandalay Bay Convention Center debuted their new $70 million expansion hosting the Men’s Apparel Guild in California (MAGIC) fashion trade show. When the project is completed next January, this new addition will bring Mandalay’s total convention space to more than 2 million square feet, moving them up to fifth place in North America. And in a town known for it’s bright lights, it only seems fitting that the building’s rooftop will also house a solar array that will generate more than 3 million kilowatt hours each year.

Other convention centers are not exactly celebrating this week … the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined Smart City Holdings $750,000 and ordered it to stop blocking visitors’ Wi-Fi access at 30 convention centers around the U.S. Last year, the FCC also fined Marriott $600,000 for blocking Wi-Fi access at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville. For those who travel frequently to shows around the country, this likely comes as no surprise. It’s been a common occurrence to have difficulty connecting to the Internet in many convention centers. Now it turns out that Smart City was automatically blocking access for exhibitors and attendees who didn’t pay their $80 per day fee and chose to use their own data plans for Wi-Fi access instead. The FCC has stated that’s unacceptable and Smart City has agreed to pay the fine. No word yet on the convention centers’ reactions to the verdict …

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