Cities Get Competitive Over Conventions

Posted: Oct. 24th, 2012  |  By Michael Pearse
Dominick Reuter for WSJ

Since the economy weakened so drastically this last decade, cities are pulling out all the stops to nab big conventions to help build their own local economies. Recently, Atlanta went so far as to offer free rent for its convention space to thoroughly undercut Boston's bid at the event.

Rivalry between cities isn't limited to sports teams.

Across the country, cities are duking it out like never before over conventions, vying to host everyone from the Barbershop Harmony Society to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Convention-center officials in Boston say they were on track recently to snag a green-building trade show when they got muscled out by Atlanta.

Atlanta lured the group for its 2019 show by offering free rent at its Georgia World Congress Center, said James Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

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