National Clothesline
Final count for Clean Show: 10,300
The numbers are in for Clean 2013 and it’s a mixed bag of ups and downs.
Total attendance at the June 20-22 show was 10,300, up by about 400 from the last New Orleans Clean Show in 2009 but down 900 from Clean 2011 held in Las Vegas.
A similar pattern appears in the number of exhibiting companies; this year’s show had 422 companies on the floor, eight fewer than the Las Vegas show but 10 more than the last New Orleans show.
Clean 2013 can boast of having more overall exhibit space than either of the last two shows. The 195,140 net square feet of booth space topped the Las Vegas show by about 11,000 and the previous New Orleans show by 2,500. One must go back to the 2007 show in Las Vegas to find a bigger show in terms of exhibit space. That show had 227,950 square feet divided among 484 exhibiting companies.
If nothing else, the numbers indicate that Clean Show’s steady decline in both size and attendance through the first decade of the 21st century has at least stopped with those numbers stabilizing at their current levels now over the past three shows.
The show also continues to draw from a wide geographic area. Attendees came from all 50 states of the U.S. along with 1,663 people from 83 other countries. The largest foreign contingents were from Canada, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and Australia.
The next Clean Show will go in a different direction in terms of timing and venue. Clean 2015 is scheduled for April in Atlanta, the first non-summer dates for the show since 1993 — that one was Chicago, also in April — and the first visit to a city other than Las Vegas or New Orleans since the show was in Orlando in 2005. In fact, one of those three cities has hosted every Clean Show since that same Chicago show 20 years ago.
It has been even longer than 20 years since the Clean Show last visited Atlanta; 1987 was the one and only time in the show’s history. The return there in two years will find a city that has undergone many changes since then. In New Orleans, a representative of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau highlighted many of the recently added and soon-to-come attractions in Atlanta, from a newly opened 7 Discovery Center to a College Football Hall of Fame scheduled for a 2014 opening.
The Georgia World Congress Center itself has undergone two major expansions since the last Clean Show visit. Now the 3.9 million-sq.-ft. convention center, along with the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park, ranks among the top five largest convention destinations in the country.
One thing that remains to be determined are the exact dates for the show. This year, Clean Show organizers experimented with a three-day format, having the show open from Thursday through Saturday, instead of the usual four-days of every Clean Show since 1983.
Both the 2015 show in Atlanta and the 2017 show, which returns to Las Vegas, are planned for three days, but with an option to revert to four days. The Clean Show executive committee is surveying exhibitors on that issue before setting the final dates.