Several new multi-year contracts have contributed to the most successful year at Detroit’s Cobo Center in memorable history.
The Cobo Center announced the contract trend began in 2011 when the North American International Auto Show signed a five-year contract. NACE/CARS and SME’s BigM agreed to return to Cobo next year, and the Society of Automotive Engineers just signed a new five-year agreement for its World Congress.
The Shell-Eco Marathon energy efficient vehicle competition begins a three-year run in Detroit and Cobo Center starting in 2015. Larry Alexander, chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA), governing body of Cobo, and president of the Detroit Metro Convention Visitors Bureau commented, “Each new season at Cobo Center has realized a significant rise in bookings. Couple that with sound fiscal management and strict energy conservation measures, and you have the formula for our current success.”
The last three tradeshows this year in Cobo Center all exceeded anticipated attendance. SME’s new manufacturing show, The Big M, attained stronger attendance by 25 percent. NACE/CARS, held last year in Las Vegas, saw a 70 percent jump in show attendance. The Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress previously held in Tokyo jumped 50 percent in projected number of attendees.
Cobo realized a 65 percent increase in the number of summer events, this with 26 shows in 2013 from June through August, and 65 shows in 2014 during the same period. Operations also realized year over year revenue gains in Internet sales: 55 percent; food and beverage commission: 56 percent; rent: 14 percent and parking: 38 percent. The overall total revenue increase was 34 percent this year over last.
Mandated by the state of Michigan to eliminate its state convention center subsidy by 2023, Cobo Center has already reduced the subsidy from 2009 of $20 million to less than $7 million in 2014.