By Kimberly Chin 

Major conferences, festivals and sporting events are being canceled or postponed around the globe as the novel coronavirus continues to spread, leading companies to curtail nonessential trips and virus-hit countries to restrict travel.

From Beijing to San Francisco to Geneva, the cancellations are threatening billions of dollars in lost revenue for local economies.

Here's a list of some of the events that have canceled or postponed their plans.


Austin, Texas, canceled the 34th annual South by Southwest festival (SXSW) after tech companies, including Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., Netflix Inc. and Twitter Inc. said their employees wouldn't attend, and more than 50,000 signed a petition urging that it be called off. The music, tech and film festival was to run from March 13 to 22, with events planned across Austin at bars, party spaces and a convention center.

Alphabet Inc.'s Google canceled its annual developer's conference, Google I/O -- its flagship event for the year, which was slated for May adjacent to the company's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters for roughly 7,000 attendees.

Facebook canceled the in-person component of its F8 Developers Conference, set for May 5-6 in San Jose, Calif., and will focus on "locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content."

Adobe Inc. canceled the live-event component of its annual event, Adobe Summit, that was scheduled to start in Las Vegas March 29, opting to host the entire event online instead.

The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, which was slated to start March 16 , was postponed to the summer after major participants including "Fortnite" maker Epic Games Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Activision Blizzard Inc. withdrew their participation.

In Spain, cancellation of the Mobile World Congress deprived Barcelona of its busiest annual event, after big companies including AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG pulled out. Organizers had forecast it would generate $546 million regionally and create more than 14,000 part-time jobs.


The Milken Institute Global Conference said the event, originally scheduled for Beverly Hills in early May, has been rescheduled for July 7 through July 10. The annual gathering brings together leaders in business, government, science, philanthropy and academia from around the world.

The New York International Auto Show, one of the car industry's largest U.S. gatherings, will be postponed until later this year, organizers said. The annual car show, which attracts hundreds of thousands of consumers each year and is an important stop for car-industry executives unveiling new models, was supposed to take place in early April.

The two-week Geneva International Motor Show, slated for March 5 through March 15, was canceled after the government banned public gatherings of more than 1,000 people. The event attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually and was expected to generate between $209 million and $261 million in economic activity.

The energy conference CERAWeek was canceled for the first time since it began, in 1983. IHS Markit, the organizer of CERAWeek, estimated it will lose $50 million in nonrecurring revenue because of the event and others it has canceled because of the coronavirus, including a shipping conference scheduled for March 1-2 in Long Beach, Calif. It will fully refund CERAWeek participants, whose standard attendance costs average $8,500.

Natural Products Expo West, the world's largest natural and organic foods and products trade show, initially chose to go forward in Anaheim, Calif., this week, even as it estimated that as many as 60% of the expected 87,000 attendees wouldn't come. But late Monday, organizer New Hope Network called it off, planning to reschedule it sometime before summer.

Cultural Events

Ireland's government canceled all St. Patrick's Day parades, including Dublin's. The annual events usually take place between March 13-17. Boston, which has a large Irish-American community, canceled its parade, too.

Southern California's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival said late Tuesday it will postpone the annual live music event to October due to coronavirus worries. The world's top-grossing music festival was due to begin on April 10.

Pearl Jam postponed a 17-date arena tour of North America that was supposed to kick off in Toronto, Canada, March 18.

The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights, slated for March 6-15 in Geneva, and Think Cinema Lausanne ("Rencontres 7e Art Lausanne"), set for March 4-8, were both canceled.

The Ultra Music Festival in Miami was canceled this year. The 21-year-old electronic music festival will return next year, March 26-28.

Politics and Government

The U.S. said it is shifting a gathering of the Group of Seven foreign ministers, which had been scheduled for March 24 and 25 in Pittsburgh, to a virtual meeting.

The Practising Law Institute and the Securities Exchange Commission canceled their SEC Speaks 2020 conference, originally scheduled for March 30-31 in Washington, D.C. The organizers said they planned to reschedule the program for this summer.

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden canceled rallies in Cleveland Tuesday, ahead of Ohio's primary next week. Other political events also have been canceled or postponed. President Trump , who has held 11 rallies so far in 2020 and hasn't gone longer than two weeks without one this year, had none of his signature campaign gatherings scheduled as of Monday morning.

The AFL-CIO canceled Thursday's Democratic presidential candidate forum in Orlando, Fla. Both Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders had planned to attend.

A Women for Trump bus tour scheduled to go through Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania early this week was postponed, but the campaign said that change was for scheduling reasons.

The Trump administration postponed the US-ASEAN Summit in Las Vegas on March 14, which connects the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian nations.


The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee indefinitely postponed a multiday media event set to start next week in Los Angeles and feature more than 115 athletes.

Meanwhile, four major U.S. sports leagues -- the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer -- said team locker rooms and clubhouses will be restricted to only players and essential employees until further notice. Media access to those areas will be restricted to designated areas.

Johns Hopkins, host of three games in the Division III men's National Collegiate Athletics Association tournament this weekend, banned spectators on its own initiative in part because one team, Yeshiva University, had canceled classes after a student tested positive for the virus (Yeshiva advanced to the Sweet 16).

The NCAA men's Division I "March Madness" tournament is played at neutral sites across the country over three consecutive weekends, and CBS and Turner Sports paid $8.8 billion for the rights to broadcast the games through 2032. NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline said over the weekend that proceeding with the tournament with no fans was "very unlikely" and that canceling was off the table.

The BNP Paribas Open , a major tennis tournament that was scheduled to take place in Indian Wells, Calif., starting this week, was canceled after local health officials declared a public health emergency in the Coachella Valley because of a confirmed case of the coronavirus.

Formula One has said its upcoming Grand Prix in Bahrain will be closed to spectators. The Chinese Grand Prix, which had been scheduled for April, was postponed.

FIFA said Monday it would postpone the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The International Ice Hockey Federation canceled the women's world hockey championships in Canada scheduled for the end of the month.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee have said the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to run from July 24 through August 9, will go on, though there have been discussions about holding competitions without spectators or even postponing the event by a year or two. The Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony, where the torch for the Tokyo game is lit in Olympia, Greece, on March 12, will be closed to the public.

Media and Entertainment

The Royal Television Society Programme Awards in London on March 17 will be held behind closed doors and only nominees and RTS representatives are allowed to attend.

The London Book Fair, one of the world's largest international literary events, was canceled. The event was set for March 10-12. The event draws around 25,000 publishers, authors and agents from around the world.

The Series Mania Festival, which attracts around 80,000 festival-goers and was set to run from March 20-28 in Lille, France, was canceled because of government restrictions on large gatherings and travel restrictions for international participants.

A+E Networks canceled the live proceedings of its Upfront event, which was slated for March 25, opting instead to hold a Virtual Upfront beginning the week of March 23.

On Wednesday, the Electronic Entertainment Expo -- better known as E3 -- was called off. Scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles, the event organized by Entertainment Software Association is a major venue for new hardware and software announcements. Last year it drew around 66,100 attendees.

Write to Kimberly Chin at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 11, 2020 12:45 ET (16:45 GMT)

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