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Two Industries on the Upswing Propel The Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show to Its Finest Hour
Trade Show Fulfills Early Promise Despite Challenging Economy
January 29, 2010

The final numbers have yet to be tallied, but judging from the tired smiles on exhibitors¹ faces and the weary legs of retailers and buyers‹many of whom were still writing orders as the doors closed‹ the 2010 edition of the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show was a resounding success. With attendance exceeding all pre-show estimates and expectations, and the aisles energized for three solid days, the two sister industries are looking at a very promising year.

"When we merged Sports Licensing and Tailgating into a single trade event four years ago, we expected great things" says Show Director Stanley Schwartz of Showproco LLC, the event's producer.

"What we saw this week was the realization of that vision."

Buyers certainly agreed. Tim Held, an Indiana retailer, discovered items in both categories that he couldn't wait to get in his store. "The show has been very positive, energetic and upbeat," he says. "There are a lot of new products, which is why I come here. I have found a couple of products that I am really excited about."

"We have eleven stores so it's important that we be out front and plan properly," says Paul Shillingford of Pro Image, who says that he was able to shop very aggressively for college-themed party items.

"We have written orders probably four times more than at any show in the past," says Kansas store owner Joe Ward. "There are some tailgate products that are out there that we had no idea existed, as far as cooking and grills are concerned. And exhibitors have really updated apparel, especially in
women's fashions."

Held, Shillingford and Ward were among those honored at the Industry Breakfast on Thursday as Rising Star retailers. They were voted the most innovative retailers in their respective states by their peers, and flown in by the show to receive their awards.

On Friday, the final day of the show, savvy buyers took advantage of the popular License to Buy program, which offers exclusive show discounts. Over $1.5 million in just LTB business was generated over the three days.

Every category within the sports licensed realm seemed to be drawing customers, from high-end memorabilia and collectibles aimed at well-heeled adult fans, right down to products for infants. Tricia Woodson of Baby Fanatic says her booth was so busy she needed one of those machines you see at the deli counter.
"We were so busy yesterday with people standing in line that I wanted to say, 'Take a number.' Next year I want to be up front with a really big booth!"

Amidst the swirl of commerce at the show were two well-received Retail Panels. More than 300 retailers attended these lunchtime events, which explored the mind of the dedicated tailgater, as well as strategies for attracting tailgaters into stores. Among the experts assembled were Joe Cahn (aka The Commissioner of Tailgating) and Asoka Veeravagu, the man responsible for Margaritaville¹s fantastic exhibit.

"We worked hard to make this a great show and we were very happy with the results," says Show Director Hardy Katz. "Now we begin focusing on 2011!"




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