I posted yesterday about my suspicions that Netroots Nation 2012 was scheduled for Providence, RI, a small convention market (and near my home in RI) in order to keep RightOnline away by booking almost all the major convention space and hotel rooms.
Netroots Nation has been bothered and embarrassed by the close proximity of RightOnline, including a now-famous appearance by Andrew Breitbart.
The Boston Globe [added: via AP] confirms that Netroots Nation 2012 chose Providence to keep RightOnline away, and even has put non-compete agreements in its contracts:
Organizers of the Netroots Nation conference to be held in Providence in summer 2012 have taken steps that would keep a conservative group’s traditional counter-event at a distance.
Raven Brooks, Netroots Nation’s executive director, said Tuesday the group has a non-compete clause in its contracts with the Rhode Island Convention Center and two Providence hotels.
The conservative group RightOnline has staged its annual meeting in the same city and around the same time as Netroots Nation since 2008. Bloggers from both groups shared a hotel this year, and Brooks said some Netroots participants were harassed.
I’ll leave the name calling to others, but it does not reflect well on Netroots Nation that it is so scared of right-bloggers that it feels forced to flee to a small market and enter into non-compete clauses with convention authorities and hotels.
Update: The Wall Street Journal reports similar information:
So in an effort to prevent similar blogger battles next year when Netroots heads to Providence, R.I., next June, event organizers are trying to ban other gatherings from using the city’s convention center and two of its hotels during Netroots weekend. It is insisting on a noncompete clause in every contract at the Rhode Island Convention Center as well as the Westin Providence and Providence Biltmore hotels, Raven Brooks, Netroots executive director, told Washington Wire. A convention center official said he was not immediately aware of the arrangement.
The conservative conference, RightOnline, has followed Netroots around the U.S. since 2008, seeking to act as a counter-event. This year, a shouting match broke out when Mr. Breitbart tried to enter Netroots, camera crew in tow. Mr. Brooks alleged other cases of harassment at the Hilton Minneapolis, which was used by both events, and at downtown bars.
There are, of course, other hotels, in downtown Providence.
There are other hotels downtown, but The Westin and The Biltmore are the two major hotels, so Netroots Nation has locked up the key hotel space.