After Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk and the 10th annual Atlantic City Airshow, a third event capping off one of the city’s busiest weeks could have a significant long-term impact on the city’s convention market, officials said.
Reed Exhibitions will bring Fantasy Football Fest to the Atlantic City Convention Center on Aug. 18 and 19, kicking off the day after the airshow, which is often touted as a highlight of the city’s summer. Fantasy Football Fest is expected to bring as many as 25,000 people over two days, making it one of the most highly-trafficked events at the Convention Center this year.
Only three other events booked at the Convention Center within the next year are expected to attract larger crowds — the New Jersey Education Association’s annual convention, the Atlantic City Boat Show and the Atlantic City Classic Car Show.
Landing Fantasy Football Fest, organized by Reed Exhibitions’ ReedPOP division, was a major feat for the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, ACCVA President Jeff Vasser said.
Reed Exhibitions, which organizes more than 500 events worldwide each year, has never before hosted a convention in Atlantic City. The ACCVA, which operates the Convention Center, is hoping organizers will be pleased with the venue and consider bringing other events to the city in the future.
“They are the largest and certainly one of the most significant trade show operators out there. We’ve been working for a very long time in trying to get Reed to come into Atlantic City and try us out,” Vasser said. “Atlantic City has suffered from some perception problems, so we’ve continued to work with them to bring them into Atlantic City to show them what’s going on. We’re thrilled to be able to roll out the red carpet.”
ReedPOP, based in Norwalk, Conn., organizes some highly recognizable public trade shows, including the New York Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration and the Ultimate Fighting Championship Fan Expo.
Fantasy Football Fest boasts a lineup of NFL players and fantasy analysts. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and Eagles running back LeSean McCoy are among the sport celebrities scheduled to be at the event. Both days of the convention will feature large tailgate parties in the venue’s bus parking lot, during which conventiongoers will test out the latest in grilling products and watch cooking demonstrations.
Summer is traditionally a slower time in the convention business. Hotel bookings in the city are also stronger during the summer, leaving fewer rooms available for conventiongoers.
However, public shows such as Fantasy Football Fest tend to see fewer overnight guests. By comparison, trade shows, which are not open to the public, tend to bring more guests to the city who stay overnight, Vasser said.
“For something like Fantasy Football Fest, you tend to get more local folks who come in for the day and go back,” Vasser said.
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