This one belongs in the “saw it coming” category. As soon as I heard the list of contestants wooing the Outdoor Retailer shows after their exit from Utah, I knew Denver was going to win. And to do that, it had to solve the conflict between bringing in the OR Winter Show and the already-in-place SIA Snow Show.
And so the solution was for Emerald Expositions (owner of the OR Winter Show) to buy SnowSports Industries America’s SIA Snow Show. Now the two will combine to become the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, the largest outdoor and winter sports show in North America. This should make exhibitors and attendees at both shows happy, since the two have competed for audience attention and dollars for a long time. Now there will be one show, starting in January 2018.
But what about the other contenders? (See previous post.) In my opinion, none of them really had a chance against Denver. This is one time when “location, location, location” wasn’t the deciding factor. Yes, several of the other cities had a great winter backdrop to host the show. But in the trade show business, it comes down to logistics, and a lot of the other cities couldn’t compete on that fact. Lack of convention center space, hotels, or air service is a challenge too large to overcome, no matter how great your mountain ranges and public lands policy (the original reason OR left Utah). And then there was Las Vegas. It certainly can handle the show, but isn’t the ideal winter sports location. (And who would be clamoring to go to an outdoor sports show there in the height of broiling summer?)
One other clear message this sends to the Salt Lake City area – Outdoor Retailer shows are truly gone. Now that they’ve worked out the one major hurdle to settling in Denver, it’s not likely there will be a return to Utah, even if the land policy changes. I believe Denver will be the home for Outdoor Retailer + Show Show for a long time to come.