The LA City Council votes on digital signage for the Convention Center

(Wally Skalij/Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

The LA City Council votes on digital signage for the Convention Center

Homepage News, LA Politics

Dakota Smith

Dec. 13, 2023

The Los Angeles City Council will vote Wednesday on a plan to allow large-scale digital signage at the city-run Convention Center in downtown LA, a plan embraced by enthusiastic politicians for new revenue streams and opposed by foes of the flashing displays.

Under the ordinance, bright digital signs and other types of advertising could appear both inside and outside the Convention Center. The displays would be allowed on a 68-acre site bounded by Chick Hearn Court, Figueroa Street, Venice Boulevard and the 110 Freeway.

The vote follows the council’s approval last week of more than 70 digital billboards across LA as part of a revenue-sharing agreement with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The new ordinance for the Convention Center would allow for animated digital signage along Figueroa Street and Chick Hearn Court, as well as

non-moving image

digital signature

with non-moving images

along the back of the Convention Center overlooking the 110 Freeway, according to the city’s Planning Department.

The money raised from the digital signage at the Convention Center will help pay for the center’s renovation, city officials said.

Doane Liu, the city’s tourism chief, told The Times that one estimate projected $14.8 million in annual revenue from the signage. He did not provide details on when the estimate was completed or who conducted it.

Councilman Curren Price, whose district includes the Convention Center and LA Live, expressed support for the signs in December. 5th Letter to the City’s Planning and Land Use Commission.

The new sign district will allow us to receive sufficient revenue to complete future renovations and expansions of the Los Angeles Convention Center in advance of the 2028 Olympic Games, he wrote.

Price’s letter refers to a separate city initiative to potentially renovate the Convention Center in time for the 2028 Games. However, cost remains an issue and city leaders have not yet made a decision on whether to proceed with the renovation.

Regardless, city officials say table tennis and other sports could be played at the Convention Center during the 2028 Olympics.

More broadly, city leaders want to make LA competitive with other major cities that attract major conventions and bring in more tourism dollars.

Angelina Valencia, a Price representative, said the accurate value of the digital signage at the Convention Center has not yet been assessed.

Barbara Broide, co-chair of the Coalition for a Beautiful Los Angeles, called the proposed digital signs at the Convention Center a “terrible visual assault on Angelenos.”

“It’s a dangerous distraction for those who need to pay attention to the road,” Broide said.

Historic preservation expert Kim Cooper also raised concerns about motorist safety and light pollution for surrounding neighborhoods. “There is a potential impact on mental health and sleep, Cooper said.

Liu, the city’s tourism chief, said convention patrons have been clamoring for the signs. He said digital displays on the outside of the Convention Center could be used in a variety of ways, including advertising medical scrubs at a nursing convention, for example.

He also pointed to the large-scale flashing displays that some downtown developers have sought for their residential buildings. “It is only right” that the Convention Center should also have digital billboards, he said.


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