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Sports Retailers Shop Licensed Product Paradise
“Uplifting” Event Brings Industry Together in Las Vegas • Tailgate/Picnic Event a Success
November 30, 2006

More than 7,650 retailers, manufacturers and sports industry professionals joined a lineup of major leagues and licensors November 9-11, in celebrating the grand opening of the Sports Licensing & Entertainment Marketplace and Tailgate • Picnic Show, sponsored by the American Tailgaters Association (ATA).

By Day Three, attendees had worked the aisles at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Hall, wandering wide-eyed through exhibits created by the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, Major League Soccer, CLC, CLPA, Professional Bull Riders, World Poker Tour and their licensees to preview next year’s hottest new sports licensed and sports entertainment products.

“We tip our hats to the leagues and their licensees for making this first show an immediate success,” says Show Director, Stanley Schwartz. “Their participation made this a can’t-miss event, and it is obvious from the quality of buyers in attendance that retailers simply did not want to miss it.”

The added feature of exciting new tailgating and picnic products provided the perfect synergy for both categories and gave attendees a whole new line of products to shop for their shelves.

In all, more than 350 exhibitors in 900 sports licensed and tailgate/picnic product booths were represented at the Sports Licensing & Entertainment Marketplace and Tailgate • Picnic Show, the largest concentration ever for the category. This turnout demonstrated the passion and profit that drive this fast-growing retail category.

Among the highlights at Sports Licensing & Entertainment Marketplace and Tailgate • Picnic Show were the interactive exhibits like the NBA’s Jam Van and the batting and pitching cages from Major League Baseball. At the Professional Bull Riders exhibit, a nearly two-ton Brahma bull named Buckshot was popular with attendees, as were daily tailgate grilling demos by celebrity chefs.

A popular stop at the show was the Sports Licensing and Tailgate/Picnic Concept Shop, where a number of business-building merchandising ideas were assembled for retailers. The shop was the most visible component of the show’s Retailer Education Program, a series of free seminars, panel discussions and “power lunches” headed up by Jack Smith, former head of Sports Authority.

The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is “Who’s got the hot new product?” Two of 2007’s contenders are Picnic Time and G-III, who both reported high traffic and enthusiastic responses from retailers, along with The Memory Company, Antigua, Fossil, K2, Wilson Sporting Goods and more.

“We’re absolutely pleased,” says Scott McCormack of Picnic Time, which found buyers very receptive to its line of licensed grilling accessories. “There is a real vibrancy here at the show. It’s the most uplifting feeling we’ve experienced at a trade show, and we do 50 a year.”

Eric Shapiro of G-III reports equally enthusiastic responses to the company’s licensed baseball apparel for women. “We were packed the entire show,” he says. “We met with a lot of big, important customers.”

Those thoughts are echoed by Bryant Couey, buyer of men's sport apparel at Kohl’s.“This was a great show,” said Couey. “Having all the licensed team players in onelocation helped us accomplish a great deal in a relatively short amount of
time. Kohl's will be back at the next show!”

Bill Ingoglia, senior buyer of team sports licensed hardgoods at Modell’s adds, “The Show was excellent. It was great to see all of the major leagues represented and supporting the industry. It gave us a great opportunity to open doors with new vendors and capture incremental holiday sales.”

The Sports Licensing & Entertainment Marketplace and Tailgate • Picnic Show (sponsored by ATA) are produced by Showproco and are the result of its groundbreaking partnership with buyers and exhibitors. From the event’s inception, every aspect—from its location to its dates to its floor plan—has been tailored to address the myriad needs of sports licensors, the manufacturers and the retailers who make up this multibillion-dollar industry.

Currently underway is an extensive survey of retail buyers on future show dates, location and educational programs.

“Our goal for 2007 is to continue working with the quality exhibitors and quality buyers who form the core of the industry and to maintain the show’s momentum while managing our growth in an intelligent way,” Schwartz says.

 

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