Marketing money up for grabs -- if Super Show grows

The Super Show has established a program it calls "Give Back" that will provide money to promote sports product categories inside and outside the show halls based on how much that category's exhibitor numbers grow over a baseline number established by the show.
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The Super Show has established a program it calls "Give Back" that will provide money to promote sports product categories inside and outside the show halls based on how much that category's exhibitor numbers grow.

Show owner Sporting Goods Manufacturer's Association (SGMA) used to have a generous grants program during the show's heyday, but the cost of funding those grants in the face of dwindling show attendance forced discontinuation a few years go. After discussing ways to start a similar program, The Super Show management and SGMA have decided they will give marketing money to a segment – if that segment exceeds its "baseline participation" at The Super Show by 10 percent.

"They beauty of this is, it rallies the industry together to increase participation in The Super Show," Show Director Peter Haines told SNEWS.

"The industry wins, we win, the buyers win – It's a win-win for everybody," he added.

This is how it works: Show management analyzed exhibitor numbers in the last three years. It then took the highest number of the three, Haines said, and added 10 percent to that figure. That becomes an industry segment's "baseline." For example, if an industry had 470 booths one year, 500 another year, and 360 another year. Its baseline would be 550 booths, or the highest number (500) plus 10 percent (50).

If that segment exceeds the baseline of 550 at the 2004 show -- whether on the full show floor or at the World of Sports Innovation, whether by one booth or 100 booths -- it receives 50 percent of the additional revenue no matter how large or small for promotion of its segment as part of the Give Back program.

That money is used in two ways:

  • 50 percent of the additional revenue can be used for the industry in some way at The Super Show. That could mean for an industry networking event or party, business meeting, sports outing, to bring in a special lecturer, put up banners, or organize another event during the show. The use of this money will be up to a vote of all exhibitors – democracy in action, Haines said.
  • The remaining 50 percent can be used at the industry's discretion in ways outside of The Super Show venue to help grow the industry. The exception, said Haines, is that it can't be used at or for competing shows. This could mean then for consumer promotion campaigns, participant education, training instructors, or organizing a special event. The decision on the use of this portion will be up to an "industry council" to decide. If an industry segment does not have one overseeing group or association, Haines said, the SGMA will put together a group, which can then oversee the money's use.

"The first goal is to generate the money," he said, "then we'll figure it out."

The Super Show (www.thesupershow.com), which takes place in 2004 from Jan. 12-14, in Orlando, Fl., points out that it has not increased fees to cover this program.

SNEWS View: Globally speaking, this is an admirable project with grand intentions that could honestly provide a substantial amount of money for trade and consumer promotions for various sport segments. For fitness as well as outdoor, however, manufacturer attendance has dropped dramatically in the last number of years, with many whom SNEWS has spoken to voicing little or no interest in returning to a hall that is filled with the likes of bats, balls, pool toys, dart games, or Sacramento Kings bar stool covers. Some who are still there have told us they are giving the show "one more year" with its return to the East Coast. Of course, we suppose that means industries such as fitness (or outdoor) actually have the greatest opportunity for earning this money with all that room to grow while the likes of collectables, licensed, and other team sport segments have less room to grow.

Outdoor seems pretty happy with its large twice-yearly show, Outdoor Retailer, but fitness still hasn't completely found a thriving home, it seems. The Health & Fitness Business Expo for specialty retail, although a pleasant and well-liked show, has remained relatively small and, without more growth, we are not sure how much longer its owner, VNU, will maintain it. The IHRSA international club show in the spring is huge, well-run, and still growing, but focuses on clubs and commercial, leaving specialty retailers – many of whom still attend the show -- without all the companies or products they want to see, and a lot of services they don't care about it. We suppose if wooed well, fitness could consider a return to The Super Show – if it weren't in the middle of January, the industry's busiest time of the year.

Now, all that said, we also have to admire -- if that's the right word to use -- the SGMA's willingness to help a sports category – if it FIRST gives to the SGMA by attending its show. Then, SGMA is mandating half of the money it gifts must be used only at The Super Show itself. Hmmm, sounds like SGMA is simply giving money to be spent to energize its own show. We wonder if more initial outreach by SGMA and The Super Show before trying to woo increased attendance that promises more industry support would be a better way to get segments that have fled the ship to consider returning. Take a look at the list of councils on the SGMA website (www.sgma.com) and, where there were once several, you'll now find only one: baseball and softball.

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