When SIA announced on Sept. 20 that it was naming Ski Press Media, Inc., publishers of Ski Press USA, Ski Press Canada and www.skipressmag.com, as the official producer of SIA's daily newspaper beginning with the 2003 SIA SnowSports Show, we thought nothing of it. Nothing, that is, until we were made aware that Ski Racing International had announced on its web site at about the same time that it too would be producing a daily newspaper for SIA.
Confused? We were. So let's see if we can sort it out. Ski Racing International is an SIA member company and had been producing an unofficial trade show daily for 22 years at SIA. Despite that, the company had a contract as the "official" daily of the show only for the past three years -- a contract that expired after the 2002 show.
SIA decided to go shopping for another publisher after 2002 and accepted three proposals. Two proposals were from U.S. companies -- Ski Racing International and Ski Area Management -- and one from Canada, Ski Press. SIA went with Ski Press, also an SIA member company, announcing the decision to the public on Sept. 20.
Also, on Sept. 20, Ski Racing announced that it would continue producing a daily newspaper, produced right on the show floor and distributed each morning. The new pub will be titled, SnowSports Today.
And so the waters were muddied with much finger-pointing and grumbling beginning to ensue.
On Sept. 27, in an open letter to the snowsports community, SIA President David Ingemie fired off the following to clarify SIA's position:
"Last week, SIA announced that we had partnered with Ski Press Media, Inc. to produce our official show daily. We are very pleased about this new venture. We would like to thank Ski Racing International (SRI), the former publishers of our official show daily, for their excellent work during the past few years. We salute them for a job well done. To eliminate any confusion, we wanted to clarify that there is only one official show daily for this year's show that will be distributed at the SIA Show, published by Ski Press. Shortly, SIA members will be receiving information about this publication and opportunities being offered by our other show partners. We hope you will support the official show publication."
End of story? Well, not quite.
"We definitely intend to publish and distribute a daily newspaper at the 2003 SIA show in Las Vegas. We've lined up a veteran staff of editorial, advertising and circulation folks, and a local printer with whom we've worked for many years," Ski Racing Managing Editor Tim Etchells told SNEWS® during a Sept. 30 interview. "Right now, we can't provide details on distribution, mainly because we'll be at a new venue, the Mandalay Bay Conference Center. But in the past, we've delivered copies to the Las Vegas Convention Center and to hotels where SIA attendees were staying.
"In our view, we're really just back to business as usual, " added Etchells. "We've enjoyed working with SIA and its staff over the years, and as SIA members we expect to have a good relationship with the organization going forward."
Ingemie told SNEWS® that SIA is bound by a contract, the same kind of contract it had with Ski Racing, to allow only one official daily to be distributed at the show in the trade show venue. Because of that, there is no way Ski Racing will be able to publish or distribute a newspaper from inside the trade show. SIA cannot prohibit it from distributing its publication directly to hotels where show attendees are staying, however.
SNEWS® View: Ski Press should do a very good job, especially since the daily is being guided by an experienced ski news veteran -- Peter Kray. Kray was the former managing editor of VNU's deep-sixed WinterSport Business and online editor of the pub's web site, wintersportbiz.com. Kray is the current editor of Ski Press' online news web site. Industry insiders tell us they suspect the reason SIA opted for Ski Press was two-fold. Ski Press offered a more financially attractive package and, perhaps most importantly, its proposal for show coverage was more in line with what SIA wags had been asking Ski Racing to do for several years now -- publish a daily that folks who had not been to the show could read and still feel like they'd been there. Ski Racing takes exception to that, no doubt, but what is done is done. It is likely Ingemie will work very hard to smooth ruffled feathers and that, in some way, SIA show goers will be seeing two sources of daily information, though only one being "official" and distributed directly on the show floor. As for Ski Racing's choice of names for its new "unofficial" pub, SnowSports Today, we note that it is remarkably similar to the name of the trade show it is covering -- SIA SnowSports Show. No word on how Ski Press or SIA feel about the title choice, but you have to feel Ski Racing Publisher Gary Black didn't just select the new title by sheer coincidence.