Coronavirus and Meetings
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Freeman, a major events experience and production company, is leading the launch of a coalition of live-events industry partners, Go LIVE Together, to advocate for support and recovery measures from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The group, which will target U.S. legislators, kicked off with 80 founding partners, representing more than 4,000 companies with U.S. operations.
"While our concern is first and foremost supporting the suppression and mitigation efforts around COVID-19, live events will be an integral part of accelerating the U.S. and global economic recovery," said Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman. "Trade shows and events enable companies to grow, educate and innovate. Protecting the industry means protecting key economic and social drivers that not only impact jobs today, but also the development of the next generation of businesses. As the largest live-events producer, Freeman is proud to unite with other industry leaders to form a coalition to make this possible."
The group's primary focus is to prepare for U.S. legislation at the federal, state and local level, in order to be positioned well to drive recovery once the crisis subsides. The coalition will advocate for assistance to offset the added costs of organizing events post-pandemic, in addition to funds that could incentivize people to attend live events when it is safe.
Freeman wanted to provide a platform for every business connected in some way to the events industry. "Our partners like Meetings Mean Business work in every major market in the country and can attest to the economic influence of our industry," explained a company spokesperson. "We want to make sure all voices in our industry are heard. Go LIVE Together aims to amplify our collective messages to help legislators understand how live events contribute to the health and well-being of economies across the country. We are stronger together."
Anyone involved in the meetings industry is welcome to join the coalition. In terms of messaging that will be sent out to legislators and the public, the group will highlight that:
- Live events contribute nearly $1 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and touch every major sector that makes up the country's gross domestic product.
- The events industry employed 3 million workers directly last year, with a total impact of nearly 7 million jobs.
- Industry jobs include union workers, laborers, strategists, marketers, concession-stand workers, entertainers, riggers, project managers and many more.
- More than 80 percent of live-event industry companies are small, with many being women- and minority-owned businesses.
"The events industry is an incubator for everything that happens in commerce," noted Priest-Heck. "Restarting the business-events industry will be one of the fastest ways to stimulate local economies."