While it took nearly six months of negotiations following the initial August 2002 announcement that the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and Outdoor Retailer/VNU (OR) were entering a new partnership contract, a deal has finally been inked.
The contract, approved by a unanimous vote of the OIA board of directors on Jan. 30 in Salt Lake City, commits OR to a $6 million contribution to OIA coffers over five years. In addition, OIA member benefits now include 3 percent discounts on booth space for exhibitors, preferential treatment for booth placement at OR shows, and GES discounts for exhibitors at OR.
In addition, OR and OIA are working on an incentive program for retail members who attend both Winter Market and Summer Market, according to Frank Hugelmeyer, OIA's president.
"This agreement is in the best interest of the entire industry," Peter Devin, trade show director for OR, stated in a prepared statement. "OIA and OR are the very best possible partners to ensure and execute the outdoor industry's market strength, stability and long-term growth as both parties have a committed and vested voice toward bettering the industry."
According to Hugelmeyer, the agreement is also scaleable -- meaning that OR might be contributing more money based on OIA reaching incentive platforms. Specifically, OR has agreed to contribute up to $350,000 a year for outreach, which includes a matching funds component that is designed to encourage all industry companies to contribute to the outreach program. Hugelmeyer told SNEWS that OR will contribute additional dollars per year, which will up the outreach contribution to nearly $500,000, if OIA implements all the components and arrives at all the incentive platforms contained in the contract agreement.
SNEWS View:This contract is very good for the industry and a significant improvement over the original contract that existed between the two entities. The new contract ensures that OIA, as a member organization, will work closely with OR to ensure the trade show is working to the highest benefit for the industry and the association's membership. It ensures that OR will provide significant levels of funding and other in-kind support to help OIA work to strengthen the industry -- which in turn, strengthens OR's trade shows. SNEWS offers a round of applause in OR's direction for stepping up to the plate in such a significant fashion in an economic climate that makes the agreement even more appreciated and remarkable. As a result of this agreement, and the additional benefits and discounts now offered to OIA members, there is even less reason for manufacturers not to become OIA members. As for the few companies which continue to question any alliance between a for-profit trade show organizer and an association that represents the industry, it's time to let that go. Winter Market was an exceptional show, and a return to a show of strength for the industry. It is in OR's best interests to ensure the strength of this industry, or the company will have no trade show. It is in the industry's best interests that OR support OIA financially to keep membership rates down while bolstering resources for services and special programs. While we know that criticism has been leveled at OIA in the past that it was simply a puppet of OR, this contract changes the relationship dramatically. This new contract has demonstrated that there is a willingness to support OIA's and OR's needs and desires in a way that arrives at a deal that is fair to all parties, and that includes the industry at large. We do know that the former contract was more paternal in nature, and the new one is more a partnership that we are sure include layers of clauses that protect both sides -- and that too is good and healthy for all.