Ispo officials announced during the summer ispo last week that the dates of its 2006 summer show will move to July 16-18 -- ending just two days before the OutDoor Friedrichshafen show is set to begin. The decision, according to ispo show producer Messe Muenchen, has been caused by next year's FIFA World Cup, resulting in a shortage of beds in Munich.
Apparently, ispo did approach the European Outdoor Group, owners of the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen, about moving OutDoor to the end of July. However, the EOG issued a statement on July 11 stating that the suggestion that the OutDoor trade show move its dates to the end of July would negatively impact the show, the exhibitors and the attendees.
"We cannot accept this situation. We would have been ready to shift forward the dates of the OutDoor 2006 show by a week, if the ispo show had been postponed until the end of July," said Mark Held, executive director for EOG. "But Messe Muenchen and its partners said this was not an acceptable option.
"Therefore, there was no other choice left other than to stick with our original intentions and to hold the show from July 20-23, 2006," Held continued.
"I am convinced that the strength of the OutDoor show will make up for any possible difficulties that surface because of this," added Held. "As a trade group, of course, the interests of all our visitors are important, particularly from outside Germany."
In addition, Held said that there has been no guarantee given that the ispo dates will move back to early July for the 2007 show and beyond.
"Ispo is an important partner for us," he said, "and we hope that summer ispo will return to its original dates after the World Cup."
ispo representatives were unavailable for comment.
SNEWSÂ® View: You mean to tell us that ispo actually wants the world to believe it just now discovered that there would be an impact on housing from the 2006 World Cup? Uh? It's not like the dates and location of the world's largest sporting event came as a sudden surprise. Ever since 2002, everyone has known what was coming -- except ispo apparently. Riiiight. We suspect this is more a bit of gamesmanship and, as such, it is silly. Fact: ispo attendance for the summer show has been on the decline since 2002, from a high of 35,000 down to a reported 23,000 this year. Fact: Friedrichshafen attendance has been on the increase, hitting 14,000 last year. This year, OutDoor reports 627 exhibitors from 35 countries attending, a dramatic increase over 577 exhibitors last year.
The bottom line here is, ispo wants what Friedrichshafen has -- the outdoor community and its attendance. Not going to happen. As a winter show, ispo is quite possibly one of the best trade shows in the world for the outdoor, ski and sporting goods industry. Nothing is quite like it. As a summer show, there just isn't the demand or energy. Friedrichshafen, on the other hand, is a must-attend event for outdoor companies from around the world seeking to enter the European market.
ispo did try to make a bit of hay from a 2005 winter ispo announcement that more outdoor companies were returning to ispo this year. And while that may have been true, not one outdoor company SNEWSÂ® spoke with during and after the show told us they would choose ispo over Friedrichshafen. In fact, quite the opposite. Several indicated to us that if push came to shove, Friedrichshafen would win the outdoor business hands down. All are also still exhibiting at Friedrichshafen this year.
All-in-all, this decision by ispo just makes the situation harder for the industry and its retailers, distributors and companies that might otherwise have wanted to or needed to attend both shows. Granted, the number isn't all that significant, but it is going to have an impact. We suspect that those for whom outdoor business is more important will opt for Friedrichshafen OutDoor. Others will flip a coin and choose, with ispo winning for those who have more interest in action sports and sporting goods business. However, the larger sporting goods stores tend to have several buyers so the outdoor specialist will still likely head to Friedrichshafen.
Let's just hope ispo regains its brain, stops playing games, and after the World Cup moves its dates back to earlier in July.