Deal To Bring MACWORLD Back To Boston Nearly Complete

The Boston Herald is reporting that a deal to bring MACWORLD back to Boston is nearly complete. The East Coast MACWORLD show was hosted in Boston for many years until the show grew so large that it had to be held in two separate facilities. Hotel rooms for attendees were also a concern for the show as it continued to grow.

Since that time, Boston began building a US$800 million convention center facility that was designed to bring back MACWORLD, as well as other large regional trade shows. Trade shows can bring in tens of millions of dollars to local economies, and Boston has been keen on luring MACWORLD, the largest technology trade show on the East Coast according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, since it left.

Rumors of a return to Boston began surfacing during this past Julyis MACWORLD New York show, and the Boston Globe published a report earlier this month that said that a dearth of hotel rooms was the sticking point in negotiations between Boston and MACWORLD Expo organizer IDG Expos. The Boston Herald published a detailed report today that says the hotel issue has largely been worked out, in part by bringing in cruise ships to sit in the harbor as floating hotels during the show, and that one remaining sticking point remains. The report says that the show could return to Boston in 2004. From that report:

After a years-long, multimillion-dollar marketing drive, state convention officials can point to only 11 bookings for the hallis first 10 years. That is compared with the more than 30 meetings that project boosters predicted would show up for the opening year.

The centeris struggles have prompted a radical revamp of its marketing team, while spurring some critics to call for a dismantling of the giant steel structure. Nailing down the MACWORLD show - one of the nationis top technology expos, with tens of thousands of attendees - could open the door for additional bookings.

Charles Greco, MACWORLDis chief as head of trade show powerhouse IDG World Expo in Framingham, would not comment on the details of his talks with city leaders. But Greco indicated that significant progress has been made in what had been a major barrier to the showis return: nailing down agreeably priced hotel room blocks.

Hotel room blocks are in place for the first year of the showis proposed return. And Greco said he believes he will be able to bring in cruise ships to make up for a dearth of rooms in later years, when scheduling conflicts are creating a potential shortage.

To that end, Greco said he has received assurances from the Massachusetts Port Authority, which works closely with the cruise ship industry, that enough ships would be available to help provide the thousands of hotel rooms his show will need.

Only one nonhotel-related issue remains before an agreement can be signed, Moscaritolo indicated: providing a multimillion-dollar financial guarantee that the Southie center will be open in time for MACWORLDis arrival.

Grecois demand for the guarantee is based on the fact the meeting hall is expected to open in late June 2004, just two weeks before the massive technology show is to arrive.

There is a great deal of additional information in the full report, and we recommend it as a good read.