Ispo/OutDoor show date tussle resolved: OutDoor shifts for 2006

Following a letter with an official request from Manfred Wutzlhofer, CEO of ispo show management at Messe Muenchen, to Rolf Schmid, chairman of the trade association European Outdoor Group, the outdoor group has reconsidered its position to stick to its pre-scheduled trade show dates. Instead, the group has announced it is prepared to move the start of its OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen show three days later – for one year only.
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Following a letter with an official request from Manfred Wutzlhofer, CEO of ispo show management at Messe Muenchen, to Rolf Schmid, chairman of the trade association European Outdoor Group, the outdoor group has reconsidered its position to stick to its pre-scheduled trade show dates. Instead, the group has announced it is prepared to move the start of its OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen show three days later – for one year only.

As SNEWS® reported in our July 11, 2005 story, "Friedrichshafen OutDoor show and ispo in a date tussle," ispo announced that it would move its 2006 summer show dates to July 16-18 – ending only two days before the OutDoor show was scheduled to begin. The reason given was an unexpected room shortage as a result of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, also in Munich during the originally scheduled dates for ispo.

At a July 23 evening meeting of the European Outdoor Group members, a majority voted to move the 2006 OutDoor show from the original dates of July 20-23 to start three days later and run July 23-26.

The agreement, however, to move the dates was "100 percent dependent" on the Munich Trade Fair management and ispo advisory board guaranteeing in writing, by July 31, that the ispo show would return to its previous dates earlier in July as of 2007, Mark Held, general secretary of the EOG, told SNEWS®. EOG owns the OutDoor show. That lack of a guarantee was something that the EOG had stated in an earlier release was the primary reason it was unwilling to originally consider a one-time schedule change.

According to Held, ispo show director Peter Knoll told the EOG membership, by phone, that ispo would agree to guarantee a return to earlier dates. ispo representatives confirmed with SNEWS® that the guarantee was something it had offered, that it found to be a good idea in the spirit of a good partnership, and that it expected the required meeting with the ispo management team and the advisory board for final approvals to be a mere formality.

In an official statement, the EOG said, "Due to the hosting of the Football World Cup in Munich in June / July 2006, ispo felt it necessary to move its dates to within a day of the start of OutDoor 2006. The EOG group felt that the strength of OutDoor would mean this would not really affect the OutDoor show, but it would cause inconvenience to retailers and the wider trade and this was best avoided."

Added Held, "ispo is an important partner of EOG. We want to work together constructively, now and in the future and by helping out in these exceptional circumstances we are demonstrating our commitment to working on behalf of the entire industry."

Tobias Groeber, ispo community manager for outdoor, told SNEWS®, "I'm really happy that we could work this out to benefit both parties," calling OutDoor a good partner.

SNEWS® View: Since we were at OutDoor while this debate was going on, we got a chance to check in with quite a few companies regarding the date changes for 2006 and about the expected ispo guarantee to move back to early July the following year. Let's first start by stating that OutDoor did the correct thing by compromising, and that the promise by ispo to move back to original scheduling is also the correct response. Overwhelmingly, we heard from the U.S. companies and quite a number of European companies, that ispo was not the most important show for OutDoor NOT to have a date conflict with, but rather it was Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. There was a chance that Outdoor Retailer might have moved to the first week of August in 2006, which would have made a date shift by the EOG more difficult, we've been told. However, Peter Devin, group trade show director for VNU Expositions, reportedly told Held that Outdoor Retailer Summer Market dates for 2006 would remain as scheduled, from Aug. 10-13. After 2006 though, there is the possibility that Summer Market might move as early as August 3, making it even more essential that the OutDoor show remain in its originally scheduled dates of July 19-22 in 2007 and July 17-20 in 2008.

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