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How many adult entertainment expos can L.A. support?

The managers of Adultcon have canceled two of three trade shows in the city next year because the L.A. Convention Center has refused to bar two competing adult-themed expos from operating at the venue within three months of Adultcon.

July 06, 2011|By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
  • At Exxxotica expos, attendees pay an entrance fee to meet adult film stars, get autographs and buy DVD movies. Above, attendees visit the Exxxotica show in Miami Beach in May.
At Exxxotica expos, attendees pay an entrance fee to meet adult film stars,… (Gustavo Caballero, Getty…)

A feud has broken out among competing Los Angeles trade shows, and it's getting nasty. Also, it's about sex.

For the last few years, the biggest show celebrating the adult entertainment industry at the Los Angeles Convention Center has been Adultcon, which is expected to draw an estimated 30,000 visitors during three events this year.

But the managers of Adultcon have announced that they are canceling two of next year's shows because the city has refused to bar competing adult entertainment shows from operating at the convention center within three months of Adultcon.

Instead, the convention center has booked two other adult-themed shows — Exxxotica and the Everything to Do With Sex Show — within weeks of Adultcon.

"It's confusing for the public and it's bad business for us," said Renaud West, vice president of Adultcon.

At Adultcon and Exxxotica, attendees pay an entrance fee to meet adult film stars, get autographs and buy DVD movies. The Everything to Do With Sex Show offers no adult film stars but instead features seminars, speakers and sex toys.

Convention center managers say there is enough demand for adult entertainment, particularly in the home of the nation's pornography industry, to draw crowds for several shows.

"The Los Angeles Convention Center has demonstrated that it can support a diverse array of industries," said Pamela Hirneisen, vice president of sales and marketing at the convention center.

Adultcon's next show will take place July 29-31, followed by Exxxotica on Aug. 26-28. The Everything to Do With Sex Show was held in May.

There is already bad blood between Exxxotica and Adultcon. The producers of Exxxotica recently sued the organizers of Adultcon in a dispute over who has the right to 19 domain names that included the terms exotica and exxxotica. The suit was recently settled for an undisclosed amount.

The outcome of the convention center feud could be significant for Los Angeles. The three adult-themed shows combined draw as many guests as the city's largest convention, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, which drew nearly 47,000 attendees last month and generated an estimated $25 million in spending.

In addition to the 30,000 attendees for Adultcon, Exxxotica drew about 15,000 visitors last year and the Everything to Do With Sex Show brought an additional 2,000 guests, according to show promoters. But trade show experts say the economic effect of the adult-themed shows is much smaller because most attendees are locals who don't pay for hotel rooms.

For 13 years, the city's biggest adult show was Erotica LA, which drew up to 30,000 attendees a year. Adultcon was a smaller show, moving from area hotels to the convention center in 2004. Adultcon took over as the city's biggest adult entertainment show with the demise of Erotica LA in 2009.

West, the Adultcon vice president, said he requested that no other adult entertainment shows open within three months of his expo because he feared the other expos would dilute the audience for everyone.

J. Handy, director of Victory Tradeshow Management, which produces Exxxotica, said his show came to Los Angeles to fill the void left by Erotica LA. He believes that Adultcon has tried to keep Exxxotica out of Los Angeles because of fear of competition.

"Adultcon attempts to be our competition but, to be honest, we don't see them anywhere but in our rearview mirror," Handy said. "We are the Mall of America and they are the flea market down the street."

Mikey Singer, manager of the Everything to Do With Sex Show, said he didn't believe his show was in direct competition with the other two adult entertainment expos. Still, he said all three shows should be allowed to compete for business in Los Angeles.

"If you have the money and you want to take the risk, why shouldn't you?" he said. "Competition is what drives innovation."

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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