The world-renown TED Conference, which has for the last five years called the Long Beach Convention Center home, announced on Monday that it will be moving its annual cult gathering to Vancouver, Canada beginning with its 30th anniversary meeting in 2014. 

This move means that when 1400 leading thinkers from across the globe converge on Long Beach at the end of this month to listen to more of the nonprofit’s “ideas worth spreading” at TED2013, it will be the last the city will host—at least for now. While the announcement made on the TED website’s blog called 2013 the “grand finale year in Long Beach,” Long Beach Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau President and CEO Steve Goodling said that organizers wanted to hold dates after TED’s two-year committment to Vancouver.

“They’ve asked us to hold dates beyond 2015…but the reality is that we always knew their intentions were to be here for three years and every year after that we had to re-earn it,” Goodling told the Post. “We’ve been pleased and privelaged as a community to host them for five years.” 

TED’s departure from Long Beach is not the result of dissatisfaction with the city or its conference facilities, but rather its need for constant change and renewal, something Goodling says is built into the organization’s very core. In a statement announcing the move to Vancouver, TED organizers also noted that the conference’s remit is now global, not just American, and yet the new location preserves its West Coast roots.

During its time in Long Beach, the popularity of the exclusive TED conference exploded, growing beyond its modest Monterey, California roots—where it began in 1984 and lived until moving to Long Beach. What originally began as a small “Technology, Entertainment and Design” conference is now an idea empire, offering videos of its talks for free online and allowing unofficial TEDx mini-conferences to be held using its name around the country. The group also holds its annual TEDActive conference alongside the regular TED convention; held in Palm Springs while TED was in Long Beach, TEDActive will be moving to Whistler outside of Vancouver for 2014. 


“TED is always sharing new ideas and new concepts, which means that by their very DNA, they also like something that’s new,” said Goodling on the group’s choice to change locations for 2014. “That’s just part of TED and we’ve known that. As much as we hate to see them move on to Vanvoucer, we appreciate TED’s DNA and respect their need for change.”

While the loss of TED is a sad one, its legacy on Long Beach and its convention center is far-reaching. The presence of such a forward-thinking and well-known group has forever changed the way that the Long Beach Convention Center approaches hosting conferences and the input of both its organizers and attendees has shaped everything from street-level conectivity to the recent interior updates made to the Long Beach Sports Arena.

“Ted helped us to view conferences from a different and contemporary perspective,” said Goodling. “All in all, it’s been a great experience to have TED here because I think it actually opened the eyes of many people to what this facility does and it helped Long Beach in furthering its reputation. They have prepared us for, quite honestly, greatness with other conventions.”

Despite the seemingly major loss, there is also no negative fiscal impact of TED’s departure. The TED conference might inject $1.1 million a year into the local economy, but the Long Beach Convention Center hosts 50 to 55 conferences a year with economic impacts over $1 million and Goodling says that TED’s 2015 date has already been scooped up by another group who will bring in more than that.

In addition, the Convention Center hosts many high-profile conferences each year that will continue to expose Long Beach to top leaders from a variety of industries from geology, obstectrics and astronomy. many of which, though not household names, are also important in exposing Long Beach as a world-class city.

“We are exceedingly grateful to the cities of Long Beach and Palm Springs for being such fantastic hosts to TED these past five years,” said Chris Anderson, TED’s creator, in a statement. “We made many friends there and are hugely looking forward to being there later this month. Both cities offer amazing facilities for conference and connection.”

TED2013 will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center February 25-March 1.