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Oracle OpenWorld Opts Out Of High-Priced San Francisco; Massive Convention Heads To Vegas

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- In a major hit to San Francisco's hospitality industry, one of its largest annual conventions is leaving the City by the Bay and headed to Sin City.

Oracle Corp. is relocating its massive OpenWorld technology convention to the new Caesars Forum conference center slated to open on the Las Vegas Strip next year.

The Redwood Shores company cited San Francisco's rising hotel prices and the poor street conditions as being factors in the decision to move the convention, according to CNBC.

The estimated economic impact of losing the convention is $64 million over the next three years, according to an email from the San Francisco Travel Association, cited by CNBC.

An Oracle spokesman confirmed the move and said the decision would not affect Oracle's sponsorships of the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors.

"Oracle is excited to offer a modern, state-of-the-art experience for attendees at Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2020 in Las Vegas. The city and its vast amenities are tailor-made for hosting large-scale events, and we look forward to bringing the industry's most comprehensive technology and developer conference to America's premier hospitality destination," the spokesman said in an emailed statement. "Oracle continues to enjoy a strong relationship with the City of San Francisco and partners such as the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors. We look forward to working with our longstanding counterparts in San Francisco on future events."

The OpenWorld convention, used by the company to unveil new technology and products to developers from across the globe, has been held at San Francisco's Moscone Center for the last two decades.

The decision to move OpenWorld from its longtime Moscone Center home comes in the same year city leaders celebrated the completion of a four-year, $551 million expansion to the Moscone Center.

Last year, a Chicago-based medical group, which had been holding its semi-annual convention in the city since the 1980s, moved its event to Los Angeles on account of San Francisco's highly-publicized struggles with homelessness, drugs, waste and property crime, particularly automobile break-ins.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed acknowledged the challenges the city has in keeping conventions from looking elsewhere.

"San Francisco is a world-class city, and countless conventions continue to return here year after year. It's no secret that like so many other cities across the country, we face challenges around homelessness, which is why we're continuing to invest in more Navigation Centers and affordable housing to help people off the streets and into housing," said Breed in an emailed statement. "At the same time, we know that the high cost of hotel rooms is a real challenge for conventions, and I'm hoping to work with SF Travel and the Hotel Council to address that because we don't want the cost of staying here to discourage people from visiting and experiencing all that San Francisco has to offer."

"They're sending a big message, and I don't think this is something to take lightly," said John Konstin, owner of John's Grill In Union Square.

Konstin said the city has improvements to make and that message was made strikingly clear by Oracle's decision.

"It's an eye opener and I think that everyone in charge of the city is going to take necessary action," said Konstin. "But I'm sure there's a lot of conventions in line ready to take their place."

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