Top 15 events that got cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19 scare

The events industry has incurred millions of dollars in losses due to these cancellations.


Coronavirus has spread to more than 80 nations in two months since the first positive case was identified in China's Wuhan. The virus has not only claimed over 3,000 lives, a majority of them in China but has left the world economy in shreds.

Owing to this scare, events across the world are getting cancelled or postponed. Event agencies are witnessing a massive dip in business due to the COVID-19 threat. Most countries, including India, have imposed visa curbs and other travel restrictions to keep a check on the influx of any infected person in its territory.

Because of these cancellations and curbs, the events industry has incurred millions of dollars in losses, though the exact figures are yet to be estimated.

To understand the extent of the coronavirus scare on the events industry, here is a list of major events that have been affected due to scare.

Google News Initiative summit

Tech giant Google Inc called off its annual news conference to be held in Sunnyvale, California, in April. The event brings together several hundred media people. Through the Google News Initiative summit, Google aims to support "quality journalism" and work with thousands of news organisations to meet their business needs and industry challenges.

Facebook F8 developer conference

Every year, Facebook connects with the global developer community at F8 event and shares its vision for the future. But given the growing concerns around COVID-19, the company cancelled "the in-person component of F8, 2020", which was to be held in May.

Mobile World Congress

The global telecom industry's biggest event, Mobile World Congress (MWC), was called off due to coronavirus outbreak. Scheduled between February 24 to 27, 2020, at Barcelona, the GSMA cancelled the event less than two weeks before kick-off. GSMA is the industry trade body representing over 1,000 companies across the mobile ecosystem, including mobile operators, handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. Over 1 lakh people attend the event every year.

IIFA Awards 2020

With due regard to the growing concerns around the spread of the COVID-19 virus and keeping the health and safety of IIFA’s fans and the general community at large, after consulting the Madhya Pradesh government, the IIFA management, and stakeholders from the film industry it has been decided to postpone to a later date the much-awaited IIFA Weekend and Awards 2020 celebrations. IIFA is fully committed to hosting IIFA2020 in Madhya Pradesh at a later date and fresh plans will be announced at the earliest. 

Geneva International Auto Show

The 90th Geneva Motor Show that was set to begin next week has been cancelled. The event was called off after Switzerland cancelled all programmes comprising over 1,000 people in the country. Experts say it'll lead to a loss of over 250 million Swiss francs (or $257 million) worth of business.

F5 Agility

F5 has elected to postpone its Analyst and Investor Event which was scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, 2020, due to the growing concerns around COVID-19, including increasingly restrictive travel guidelines. We will announce a new date for the event as soon as practicable. At this time of uncertainty, including recent reported cases of the virus in Washington state, the health and safety of our employees, investors, and the general public must be the top priority.

Milan Furniture Fair

Milan's 'Salone del Mobile' event, which is the largest furniture fair in the world, has been postponed until June. Italy has reported 21 deaths due to the deadly virus, nearly 1,576 positive cases identified so far. Other events that have also been cancelled include Cherry Blossom Festival, Beijing and Shanghai fashion weeks, Paris and Milan fashion weeks and Chinese Grand Prix.

IBM Think 2020

IBM Cancels their annual 'IBM Think 2020' conference but will hold a Digital Version of it online with streaming content & sessions. For IBM, the health of IBM’s clients, employees and partners is the primary concern. In light of global precautions for the COVID-19, and building upon recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), IBM is taking a new approach to its signature event and adopting new travel policies.

Oktane Conference

Octa cancelled its tech event and turned it into a virtual event instead. The security and identity management company said it will make its annual Oktane conference for IT professionals and developers an online only event because its the best way to safely engage with the community.

Adobe Summit 2020

Adobe canceled its annual Las Vegas gathering Monday over concerns about the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus. Instead, it will present Adobe Summit 2020 entirely online. The software company, which attracts around 16,000 attendees to Adobe Summit each year, joins a growing list of tech companies scrapping live events this season.

Google Cloud Next

Due to the growing concern around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in alignment with the best practices laid out by the CDC, WHO and other relevant entities, Google Cloud has decided to postpone Google Cloud Next '20, which will still take place from April 6-8

Game Developers Conference

This year’s annual Game Developers Conference has been postponed amid growing concern about the international coronavirus outbreaks. The event, which has been running since 1988, was expected to take place from March 16th–20th in San Francisco.

Microsoft MVP Summit

Microsoft is canceling its annual Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Summit a couple weeks ahead of its opening, citing worries over the COVID-19 coronavirus. Instead, the event will be run as a virtual-only conference during the same time slot this year. The Microsoft MVP Summit joins a growing list of conferences and events canceled over potential health issues connected to the virus.

Shopify Unite

Shopify says it has cancelled part of a planned Toronto event due to growing concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Canadian e-commerce company’s Shopify Unite conference was scheduled to take place in Toronto on May 6-8. According to the company, the Toronto conference has attracted thousands of people from around the world over the past two years.


Software company Domo, which is based in American Fork, has announced its annual user conference Domopalooza will be streamed online amid growing COVID-19 concerns. Domopalooza had been scheduled to take place at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City Tuesday, March 17 to Friday, March 20. The conference will be a 100% online event.

Amid the scare there are advisories in place to prohibit mass gatherings. Also, virtual events are gaining popularity and serving as a solution in these distressed times for the event industry.

Brands have also showcased solidarity and immediately cancelled or postponed plans to give first priority to safety and health.

Around The World

Our Publications