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Show Off to Solid Start
Industry Secrets on Tap at High-Powered Tailgating Discussion
January 17, 2008

The licensed sports and tailgating industries hit the ground running on Wednesday morning as the Sports Licensing & Entertainment Marketplace and Tailgate • Picnic Show opened at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Several thousand retailers and buyers passed through the doors on Day One, with the three-day total expected to top 5,000.

“We had a very upbeat group here on Wednesday,” said Show Director Ann Keusch. “That is a reflection of the mood within the licensed industry, as well as the tailgating world.”

The licensors at the show include the NBA, NHL, NASCAR, MLB, Pro Bull Riders, CLC, and CLPA. Among the larger exhibitors (size-wise) are Hunter, Wincraft, G-III, Franco Apparel, Top of the World, Zephyr, Antigua, College Concepts and Mitchell & Ness. The American Tailgaters Association compound presides over a large area of tailgating and picnic exhibitors. In all there are roughly 450 companies exhibiting in close to 1,000 booths.

The show’s first educational session, Game Day and Beyond, drew an enthusiastic crowd. The concessionaries forum provided attendees with a how-to for manufacturers hoping to sell into stadiums and arenas. At midday, attendees flocked to the first of two power lunches—this one entitled Winning Off the Field—which brought together a panel of athletes who have translated their success in sports to success at retail. ESPN commentator Jeremy Schaap moderated.

Among the current and former athletes here in Las Vegas is Dallas Cowboys’ legend Leon Lett. He signed autographs and swapped stories with buyers at the Accessory Sports booth. Lett plans to launch his own line of products later in 2008. Another former footballer, Tom Graham, was here with G-7 Enterprises, which makes sports-themed air fresheners. Graham was a linebacker on the great Broncos teams of the early 70s. His son, Daniel, won three Super Bowls with the Pats and now plays for the Broncos.

Day One wrapped up with the Ultimate Tailgate Party, featuring the country rock band Whiskey Falls. Some attendees used the event to blow off steam after a long day of buying and selling, while others took advantage of the myriad networking opportunities.

The Tailgate • Picnic show had steady traffic all day. This category is growing at 20% a year, and mainstream sports retailers are doing a good job educating themselves about this super-passionate consumer. This will actually be the topic of a consumer panel discussion Thursday afternoon.

Earlier on Thursday, David Morgan of Target Management will moderate a lunchtime panel discussion on consumer buying habits, followed by the presentation of brand new research on this topic. It will mark the first time this data has been released to the industry.


Sports Licensing & entertainment Marketplace
Tailgate Picnic Show


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