Sun Valley 2009: Biking and a Bit of Dealmaking

It's that time of year again, time for the Allen & Co's annual media industry confab in Sun Valley, Idaho. Occasionally described as a "summer camp for billionaires," the Herb Allen-hosted event is expected to atrract more than 250 media chiefs, tech moguls, financiers, Hollywood agents, and politicians, as well as the odd sports star or two. (LeBron James will be putting in an appearance this year.) Mostly, however, it will be populated by the sort of people who make it a point to show up every year, people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Barry Diller, Sumner Redstone, and Rupert Murdoch, all of whom will undoubtedly be photographed over the coming days taking part in one of the many leisure activities arranged for attendees, like rafting, yoga, chess, bridge (a particular fave of Buffett and Gates), and biking (see Diller, left).

The mood at the confab is expected to be a bit more sedate compared to previous years, which isn't surprising considering the upheaval in the the media industry since the last gathering in July 2008. But as with previous years, there will be a couple of tech superstars in attendance to give the conference a youthful, "cutting-edge" feel. A couple of years ago, it was YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen who found themselves the big draw with the aging crowd of media titans; last year, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg proved to be the event's star attraction. This year? Naturally, Twitter CEO Evan Williams is expected to steal the show (and set up a few moguls on Twitter, quite possibly.)

As for the people who actually live in the area (or out-of-towners who are visiting for any other reason), this is the one week they wish they were far, far away:

If you are looking to rent a bike there this week, forget it; Allen & Co. has reserved them all. Tiny Friedman Memorial Airport will be overrun with private corporate jets and the streets will be filled with Lincoln Town Cars. As it happens, the name of the main street to the Sun Valley Inn, a resort that for the week houses a good chunk of the Forbes list of richest Americans, is Dollar Road.

Let's hope that at least one basketball-playing local decided to stick around. LeBron is the only NBA star expected to turn up and, as the LA Times points out, he'll "be challenged to put together a good pickup game while there."

LeBron James joins the big (media) players at Sun Valley [LAT]
Sun Valley Buzz: Tough Times and Twitter [NYT/Dealbook]
Sun Valley set to consider paid content [FT]