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Fly Fishing Retailer show heading for a new home in 2010

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AFFTA to announce their plans for new trade show later AFFTA to announce their plans for new trade show later

AFFTA allowed to pursue fly fishing industry trade show options as they and Nielsen Business Media (owners of the Fly Fishing Retailer show) agree to go their separate ways. Here are the two sides of the coin....

LOUISVILLE, COLORADO.  Since April, 2009, AFFTA has been in discussions with Nielsen Business Media, owner of the FlyFishing Retailer Expo (FFR) to determine how to improve upon future FFR shows.  Nielsen shared AFFTA's desire to improve upon the design and production of future FFR shows. 

Thinking outside the box, as the owner of the Outdoor Retailer Show (OR), Nielsen offered to create a "show within a show" by combining FFR with the 2010 Summer OR Show in Salt Lake City.  David Loechner, Nielsen Sr. V.P., delivered the "show within a show" proposal to the AFFTA Board at their meeting in September. 

According to AFFTA Chairman, Alan Gnann, "When the Outdoor Retailer proposal was first brought to the AFFTA Board's attention, the Board was interested in the opportunities this combination offered.  The thought of having our show within a show the size and caliber of OR was initially felt to be a reasonably good fit."

Unfortunately, when the AFFTA Board received the final floor space proposal from Nielsen, the total space allocated to the fly fishing industry was grossly insufficient; the separate space to create the "show within a show" concept was not offered nor was space allocated for indoor casting ponds.  In addition, many AFFTA members stated that the timing of the OR Show was not a good fit for the fly fishing industry.  Therefore, citing these deficiencies, the AFFTA Board of Directors rejected Nielsen's proposal.

Immediately after the AFFTA Board voted to reject Nielsen's Outdoor Retailer proposal, AFFTA and Nielsen engaged in good-faith negotiations to allow AFFTA the opportunity to acquire the rights and licenses to the FFR show. Unfortunately, these negotiations were unsuccessful and AFFTA asked Nielsen to either produce a 2010 FFR show or terminate the agreement.

According to Gnann, "Nielsen and their predecessors have been great partners and collaborators for many years.  Prior to the downturn in the economy, trade shows nationwide were generally profitable and well attended.  However, the current economic climate dictates that AFFTA and Nielsen pursue a different business model.  Therefore, as of November 30, 2009, Nielsen released AFFTA from its show production contract.  It is now time for AFFTA to move on and determine its next course of action."

"Since April, the Board of Directors has been working diligently with Nielsen to consider a wide range of options and combinations for FFR," said AFFTA President Gary Berlin.  "Because of confidentiality and non-compete provisions in the Nielsen agreement, the AFFTA Board has been unable to notify the industry of the on-going discussions or issue a press release on the status of the show.  Now that AFFTA and Nielsen are no longer contractually obligated, the AFFTA Board is considering multiple options for a 2010 fly fishing industry trade show, including hosting a standalone show or combining with an existing show."

Berlin promises to keep the fly fishing industry up-to-date on AFFTA's plans for a 2010 fly fishing industry trade show.

For additional information, please contact AFFTA President Gary Berlin at 303 604-6132 or president@affta.com.



Kenji Haroutunian, group show director for the FlyFishing Retailer and Outdoor Retailer shows, sent an open letter today to manufacturers and buyers from the fly fishing and outdoor recreation industries.  

In the letter, Haroutunian invites members of the fly fishing industry to join Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in 2010, as the FlyFishing Retailer Show will no longer take place in its current format. The conclusion that the fly fishing industry cannot sustain a stand-alone event in the current marketplace follows months of discussions with members of the fly fishing industry.

As part of its Summer Market event, Outdoor Retailer has offered to provide a new venue and demo experience for FlyFishing Retailer participants, along with an opportunity to grow the fly fishing category into other segments in the outdoor recreation market.

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Comments (3 posted):

MoscaPescador on 02/12/2009 17:54:09
I heard stories of FFR going to a new location, but to have multiple shows would be insane. The cost to put up one show is expensive. What kind of attendance numbers are expected? My guess is a low number. Many shop owners won't go to FFR because of the cost. Keep in mind that these are small businesses that are happy to keep their cost sheets in the black. I'm not sure about other regions, but the different sales reps in Northern California have been good to the shop that I work at showing next year's products before it's time to write preseason orders. Because of this, there is no need to spend the money to travel to Denver (from Sacramento County, CA). My shop manager/buyer made the trip to Denver in 2007. He had some spare airlines miles that he had to use up, so he didn't have to pay for airfare. Besides meeting some old friends, he reallized that he didn't need to attend. Everything would have been covered by rep visits. MP
fish_gypsy on 02/12/2009 18:15:08
That's basically the sentiment at my local shop- the trade show is nice to meet up with friends and see some products you probably wouldn't see otherwise. But the regional reps are more or less on top of keeping the employees informed of new products and issues, so the trade show is more or less an excuse to get out and do some fishing for a week. As an aside, I get a fair amount of stuff secondhand from my local shop employees- typically freebies and samples from vendors at the show. I'm not slamming anybody, but alot of the products, tying-wise, are similar to products already on the market, just a different name. In that sense, it's hard for a shop owner to have two of the same items, with different names or manufacturers, competing with each other. I'd still like to see one of those shows if I get the chance, though : )
flyguy66 on 02/12/2009 18:16:23
There is a lot of new thinking that needs to go on in this industry! FFR was never designed to be good for retailers or mfgs. It was designed to be good for AFFTA and Neilsen. Retailers paid to go and mfgs paid to make it happen. AFFTA netted $700,000 off of the 2008 show that was supposed to be spent to grow fly fishing in 2009. How did that work out? 2008? 2007? A model that helps retailers and mfgs prosper can't be a big dent in very shallow bottom lines. It was called the Fly Fishing Retailer Expo. The vast majority of them are very small businesses operating on pretty thin margins. An expensive trip to a convention to see the new merchandise isn't the right model. All of the back-and-forth between AFFTA and Neilsen was about how to keep FFR profitable for THEM, not how to make it better serve fly fishing retailers and mfgs. And therein lies the problem. It doesn't matter where you have it or how many of them there are if nobody shows up because it doesn't fit THEIR business models.
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