The powersports industry trade show horizon has become a little bit more cluttered with the recent announcement of as many as three more shows to be produced in the next 18 months.
New this year will be Advanstar’s Off-Road Aftermarket Expo, scheduled for Oct. 10-12, 2003, in the Mandalay Bay complex in Las Vegas.
Next year, the schedule calls for a second off-road show to be launched, the MotoBusiness Off-Road Expo. It’s scheduled for mid-week, Jan. 5-7, 2004, and also will be held at Mandalay Bay. It’s owned and managed by Athletic Media, a Madison, Wis., company that owns Motorcycle Product Newsagazine and produces magazines and shows for other industries, as well.
Also being planned for a January launch at Mandalay Bay, Jan. 23-25, 2004, is the Big Twin West, a V-twin show being produced by Advanstar and aimed at dealers in the 13 western states.
Finally, a third ATV show has been announced. This one, produced by Rick Campbell, publisher of ATV-Industry magazine, is scheduled for Oct. 14-17, 2004, in the Louisville, Ky., Convention Center. The four-day event is limited to dealers only on Thursday and Friday, then opens to consumers Friday evening through Sunday, said Campbell. He has first right of refusal on the space for 2004, 2005 and 2006, and a contract was expected to be signed by the end of May, Campbell said. Another difference between this and the other shows is that it will be targeted beyond the powersports industry to consumers in lawn and garden, farm and ranching, and hunting and camping segments. Debbie Lewis is consulting on the project.
So, here’s what is being discussed so far in 2003 and 2004:
- The Dealer Expo set for Feb. 14-16, 2004. This is the granddaddy of them all. It’s been around the longest and draws something like 900 exhibitors and 15,000 attendees to the Indianapolis Convention Center/RCA Dome complex. The Expo will be dramatically reorganized next year: the V-twin exhibitors will be set aside in the RCA Dome, and attendees will have their own separate entrances and registration desk. Even though there will be separate badges for each show, attendees and exhibitors will be able to move seamlessly between the two venues, said Tracy Harris, general manager of Team Powersports, the show operations arm of Advanstar.
- The fourth Easyriders V-Twin Expo is scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Cincinnati. This show is smaller than the Dealer Expo, fitting fewer than 300 companies into about 700 booth spaces. It’s targeted at suppliers of V-twin machines and accessories, mostly Harley-Davidson.
Attendees tend to be smaller shops and come largely from the Midwest. Last year, Ohio was the top state with 1,394 attendees, but California was second with 560.
Jim Betlach said that 74% of the exhibitors from the 2003 show had renewed for 2004 as of mid-May. He said the V-Twin Expo won’t be affected by Advanstar’s plans for a Big Twin West show. “Basically,” he said, “we’ll do our plan, based upon the feedback we got from exhibitors and attendees.”
- The Big Twin West show by Advanstar is aimed at drawing motorcycle dealers from 13 western states, primarily California and Texas. Harris said it was no surprise that analysis of attendees at Dealer Expo and V-Twin Expo showed that the draw was weakest for dealers from the West.
“We were surprised about how strong the exhibitors felt about having a show in the West for the Big Twin segment,” she said. And surveys of dealers said they would more likely go to a show in Las Vegas to have fun and to do business.
One reason why Advanstar decided to launch Big Twin West is because there was no way that the Dealer Expo could duplicate the atmosphere Easyriders had created at Cincinnati. “You’re just not going to run into people there who sell watercraft or off-road (equipment),” she said.
- Advanstar’s Off-Road Aftermarket Expo is being positioned as the “first off-road show of the season” and is being held the same weekend as the U.S. Open of Supercross.
A separate show, one that targets western dealers, is better than segmenting out ATVs and off-road companies at Indianapolis, says Harris. “A lot of companies cross over into multiple lifestyles,” she says, “and a segmented show forces (these)exhibitors to take multiple locations within the same show.”
- MPN’s MotoBusiness Off-road Expo also is aimed at West Coast dealers, but dealers from around the country are signing up. “We chose January because most of the dealers in the Midwest and East Coast are still in their selling season for ATVs and off-road in October,” said Dean Kelly, account executive. “…October just doesn’t fit. It’s in the middle of the ATV season and everyone is coming off of the OEM shows.”
The MPN sales goal is 300 booths and half of that has been sold, Kelly said.
Will there be confusion on the part of attendees about the two shows, especially those who sell more than V-twin products? “We won’t make you go to the other registration area if you show up at the wrong desk,” said Harris. “Our marketing to retailers will be very clear: ‘There are two shows, but you’ll probably want to visit both shows.’ Our job is to make certain they know it’s one and the same thing and so they don’t get confused.’