The Super Show Still Not So "Fit"

The first morning of The Super Show in Las Vegas started with a bang -- registration lines snaked around the room and down the halls, and even the aisles in the smallish fitness area bustled. But by early afternoon, fitness wasn't so fit, and SNEWS found exhibitors, who earlier had said the joint was hopping, wandering the aisles of licensed paraphernalia for entertainment...
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The first morning of The Super Show in Las Vegas started with a bang -- registration lines snaked around the room and down the halls, and even the aisles in the smallish fitness area bustled.

But by early afternoon, fitness wasn't so fit, and SNEWS found exhibitors, who earlier had said the joint was hopping, wandering the aisles of licensed paraphernalia for entertainment.

"I'll be done in an hour," one shopping retailer told SNEWS before moving off. Mid-afternoon, a reporter walked into a fitness equipment booth, where the exhibitors were plopped around a table talking to themselves, and was greeted with, "Hey! We got one!" Sorry, guys, "just" a journalist.

Cybex had returned to the show this year, and had a large and expensive new booth -- about the biggest in the fitness area, which left the company looking as if it were the biggest player in the category when it's still trying to rebuild and fight off debt.

But while fitness companies were drinking all their own bottles of water, other arenas still jumped -- like games, toys, and licensed gear. In fact, at the end of the first day, aisles in the licensed area were still shoulder-to-shoulder where SNEWS saw the likes of licensed bar stool seat covers. No, really. Outdoor? Let's not even go there; it was as good as non-existent.

Fitness Quest, the infomercial equipment company, put on show after splashy show, and brought the most excitement to the fitness floor. Century Sporting Goods lineup ofequipment looked like a gym after-hours -- desolate.

But it wasn't all so bad -- PhysiCal, the Canadian company that makes the Mio heart rate monitor, raved about its day. "We've had a great show," gushed president Liz Dickinson.

The Super Show management, with all its pre-show hype about huge numbers, has said it will release no numbers about anything, from exhibitors to attendees, until the end of the week.

SNEWS View: We're not sure what kind of numbers The Super Show will tout after its run is complete Jan. 23, but the SNEWS team was greeted by a hotel shuttle driver yesterday with this conversation: "You here on business?"' "Yes, The Super Show." "Oh, I've heard it's not going to be very big this year." Wow, that set us up. I mean, if that word makes the streets of Las Vegas! Let's face it, The Super Show is really for the big-box retailers and the internationals who can in one place buy darts, a few fitness accessories, licensed baseball caps, and maybe an inflatable boat or two. If management could just face that and move on, people SNEWS hears kind of chuckling about the exaggerated numbers would stop their giggles. The Super Show is not, and will not, and will never be for specialty retailers at large -- fitness, outdoor, or otherwise. And that's really OK. Really. For the right buyers, it's a very good show, licensed bar stool seat covers and all.

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