The decision to move last year's E3 Business & Media Summit from Los Angeles to Santa Monica cost organisers more than USD 5 million.
According to IRS documents obtained by Kotaku, the ESA paid USD 5,377,808 in event cancellation fees in order to get out of its contract with the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The tax documents also show that ESA membership dues more than quadrupled for the 2006 fiscal year - from more than USD 1 million to over USD 4.5 million.
"In the past the membership dues here were deflated significantly because of income that was coming from other sources including the summit," said ESA senior VP of communications and research Rich Taylor.
"Now we're closer to what other trade associations charge."
Taylor refused to call last year's move to Santa Monica a mistake - despite the fact that the show will be returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center this year.
"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," he told Kotaku.
While not specifically blaming higher fees, Activision, Vivendi and LucasArts have all canceled their ESA memberships recently.