September 1, 2008

Outdoor Retailer Parent May Bring Even Bigger Show to Utah – If a 1,000-Room Hotel is Built

By Johnson, Frances

For the 11th year in a row, Salt Lake City played host this past weekend to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, one of the largest trade shows in the outdoor sports and equipment industry. Salt Lake will also host the Winter Market trade show in January.

According to Shawn Stinson, director of communications for the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau, more than 22,000 retailers, manufacturers and suppliers were expected to attend this year's Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, with a conservative expected economic impact of $19 million.

"Outdoor retailer attendees typically spend a greater amount than our other attendees," Stinson said.

Outdoor Retailer is owned and managed by Nielsen Sports Group, a division of media ratings giant Nielsen Business Media. According to Joseph Flynn, vice president of the firm's sports group, this year's show occupied 400,000 net square feet, including every inch of available space at the Energy Solutions Arena and represented the biggest year for Outdoor Retailer yet.

The show, which is not open to the public, provides an opportunity for retailers to do pre-season ordering of everything from fabric to apparel to equipment. Buying power at the trade show is north of $33 billion, Flynn said.

In addition to Outdoor Retailer, Nielsen Sports Group, the world's largest owner of sports-related trade shows, operates a ski show in Denver and a bicycle show in Las Vegas, both of which they would consider moving to Salt Lake City if the necessary amenities, including a 1,000-room convention hotel, were available.

While there are no plans currently under way to build a convention hotel in Salt Lake City, Stinson said, the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau is always looking for and talking to interested hotel developers and operators, and would welcome the addition of more hotel and convention space to Salt Lake.

"We, like any other convention destination, will aggressively pursue any and all possible conventions that we could host;" he said. "We would definitely not be opposed to having other large shows here."

Copyright Enterprise Business Newspaper Inc. Aug 11, 2008

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