The Super Show nears debut of new format, hopes for new energy

The grand opening of The Super Show on Jan. 20 in Las Vegas will bring together companies on the West Coast for the last year for at least a few years, since the show moves east to Orlando, Fla., in 2004.
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The grand opening of The Super Show on Jan. 20 in Las Vegas will bring together companies on the West Coast for the last year for at least a few years, since the show moves east to Orlando, Fla., in 2004. Companies that have maintained front-row fitness area placement in the Sands Expo Center are Everlast Worldwide, with a large showing, and True Fitness, with a small, postage-stamp spot. Todd Nickodym, True director of marketing, told SNEWS, "We'll look at the show this year and see if it make sense." He said that in the past it was a prime place to reach the company's international dealers as well as "secondary dealers" (such as bike shops) that it doesn't manage to see elsewhere. "But those reasons are beginning to change now," he added.

Fitness Quest has its large front-and-center placement and is sure to come up with something that will be loud or attention-getting. Cybex International, which surfaced at the show in 2002 with a large booth, said no-thank-you this year and won't be on-site. However, Nautilus has moved into a small spot where it will show 11 pieces of Schwinn cardio equipment, SNEWS was told. Icon will be back for the second year after a feud in 2001 when it bowed out of its large booth at what show management considered the last moment -- but as it did last year the Icon appearance will be in an invite-only section of four rooms. "Icon Health & Fitness is attending The Super Show because the fitness category continues to lead the sporting goods industry, and we lead the way," said marketing director Colleen Logan. "The Super Show provides us with a stage to present this innovation to the industry." As for promises of floor booths or bigger representation, Icon holds its hand close: "No one has communicated to us what is even going on next year, so we are definitely in the wait-and-see mode," Logan added.

Also, there will be dot-com retailer Smooth Fitness and its new brick-and-mortar brand called Evo, which will take over the booth listed in the planner as Phoenix Health & Fitness. "I know this is not a specialty show, but since we just launched I think it is good timing for us," said Smooth CEO Joe Alter, who said the show would also give the company a chance to meet with some overseas clients.

Other news to watch for at the show: Look for York Barbell to change the name on its booth to The Laurus Group. Balance product specialist Fitter International of Canada will also be on the floor to unveil its new specialty line of lower-priced products. And Bollinger will be under the same booth umbrella as Bell Sports since its purchase in August by Bell. (Neither was at the show last year.) Russell Athletic (new owner of both outdoor brand Jagged Edge and women's specialist Moving Comfort), New Balance and Asics Tiger remain the three large showings in the sport footwear/apparel area.

The World of Sports Innovation (aka WOSI) -- a brand-new, gallery-like showing of new products -- will include a number of companies in several different areas -- some also showing in the regular hall (such as Nautilus Group) and some not. (Nike is expected since it's sponsoring some WOSI grand-opening shindigs).

SNEWS View: The industry is buzzing, and curiosity is a' stirring about what new COO Peter Haines and the new WOSI idea will do to reinvigorate the show that even last year was gasping just a bit. Show management said registration is up, media numbers are up, and exhibitors are up. So, until everybody shows up on-site, it'll be hard to tell what the end result will be. SNEWS will cover the show in both of the next two weeks' news digests.

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