According to this Kotaku piece, it cost ESA $5 million to break contract with the LA Convention Center and move E3 to Santa Monica last year.
The charge was due to loss of earnings: ESA was contracted to hold the expo at the Convention Center until 2012.
The site claims the cost forced up ESA subscriptions last year, an increase “rumoured” to have played a part in Activision, Vivendi and, most recently, LucasArts quitting the organisation.
“I don’t think it’s a mistake,” said ESA’s Rich Taylor. “There was a model in Santa Monica that we tried and after the event we polled participants across the board about what they thought of it and then we tried to figure out what we could do to make it better and returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center was the right decision.”
E3, of course, is back at the LACC this year. Full thing through the link.