CEA: CES in 2011 was likely biggest in three years

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show attracted around 140,000 people, easily surpassing pre-show estimates and beating the two prior events, the event's organizers said late Sunday.

Organizers estimated that around 126,000 people would turn up for the four-day long gadget fest, which would have been in-line with 2010’s attendance of 126,641 people and well above 2009's 113,085 people.

At around 140,000, attendance is closer to 2008’s pre-economic crisis level of 141,150 people. The Consumer Electronics Association typically releases audited attendance figures in May.

The Consumer Electronics Association’s announcement likely wasn’t a surprise for anyone that attended the event in Las Vegas. Attendees faced long lines for taxis and the city’s monorail throughout the convention, which was a preliminary sign that attendance had rebounded.

Organizers also announced a schedule change to the CES schedule for 2012, running the show from Tuesday through Friday from Jan. 10 to 13.

The change might help keep attendees in town for the third and fourth days of the show. Many typically leave on Friday or Saturday, which means the show floor is mostly vacant on Sunday. This Consumer Electronics Association attempted to boost crowds and raise money this year by offering individuals the chance to attend the show on Sunday if they became a “CEA Tech Enthusiast” member for $49.

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