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E3 confab to stay in downtown L.A.

Organizers set three-year pact with Los Angeles Convention Center

The Electronic Entertainment Expo is staying put in Los Angeles. The annual videogame trade show ended more than a month of speculation about a possible move Monday, announcing it will remain in downtown L.A. for another three years.

The Entertainment Software Association (which owns E3) and the city have been butting heads about the show for months over pending construction of the new Farmers Field stadium, which will require the demolition of the West Hall of the LACC — eliminating 210,000 square feet of show floor space — roughly one-third of the Center’s capacity.

E3 2013, which is expected to see the introduction of new console systems from Microsoft and Sony, will be held June 11-13.

ESA officials say they have been assured by the city and AEG (developers of the new stadium) that West Hall will still be operational for next year’s show and attendees will not be inconvenienced.

Demolition is expected to begin soon after E3 closes, and AEG says a new LACC hall will be open and functioning for the 2014 show. Still, given how construction deadlines can sometimes slip, ESA officials say they have contingency plans (which they declined to detail) in place in case that hall isn’t ready.

“What we have assurances about is that there will be the exact same amount of space – or more – at the new facilities,” says ESA spokesperson Dan Hewitt. “We’re working with people who have experience in construction and building. We’re confidant AEG is going to stay on schedule. (But) we are working with the LACC and AEG and have plans built in for all contingencies.”

This year’s E3 saw 45,700 people checking out the latest games and console hardware. (That’s 1,100 fewer people than in 2011.) Those people filled up 30,000 total hotel room nights and generated nearly $40 million in revenue for the city.

At its peak, the show saw some 60,000 attendees in 2006, before the ESA decided those crowds were too big.

E3 has called the LACC home for 15 of its 18 years. In 1997 and 1998, E3 moved to Atlanta as the LACC was being renovated to make room for the Staples Center. In 2007, the show was downsized and moved to a series of hotels in Santa Monica (a move that was widely panned by attendees and game companies).

“The City of Los Angeles is thrilled to welcome E3 back for another three years,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “My office was committed to doing whatever it took to keep the largest annual conference that the City hosts here for another three years. I personally joined in the negotiations, and we worked with all parties to ensure the needs of E3 would be met.”

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