Outdoor trade show to remain in Utah

BOULDER – The Outdoor Retailer trade show – an estimated $40-million-per-year economic driver – will remain in Utah through at least 2016, according to organizers.
Organizers had been exploring the possibility of moving the show to Denver to accommodate its growth and need for a larger venue.

The Outdoor Retailer summer and winter trade shows were contracted with the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City through 2014. The show has grown bigger than the existing apace of approximately 670,000 square feet at the convention center and  has overflowed into a 150,000-square-foot outdoor tent in a parking lot across the street.

That arrangement will continue through 2016, according to a press statement issued Tuesday, Jan. 22, by organizers at The Nielsen Co. (NYSE: NLSN) in San Juan Capistrano, California, which runs the show, and its partner, the Outdoor Industry Association, based in Boulder. Utah media outlets reported that Utah economic development officials will pick up the estimated $2.66 million tab for the outdoor tent used to house the show’s overflow. The new incentive could not be immediately confirmed with Outdoor Retailer and Outdoor Industry Association officials.

“Outdoor Retailer is grateful to be able to remain in Salt Lake City for the next three years,´ said Kenji Haroutunian, the Outdoor Retailer show director and a Nielsen Expo Outdoor Group vice president, said in a press statement. “The industry has a collective affection for this town.”

Outdoor industry officials will continue to discuss other venues throughout the country – including Denver’s Colorado Convention Center – for the show’s longer-term growth trajectory, according to the press statement. The summer show has seen a 13 percent average growth annually in the past four years; the winter show has seen an average 11 percent growth.

“Discussions about longer-term solutions beyond 2016 are still ongoing with Salt Lake and other potential host cities,” Haroutunian said. “The extension period will help us make sure we get it right.”

The Outdoor Industry Association is working closely with Outdoor Retailer and The Nielsen Co. on the show, Frank Hugelmeyer, president and chief executive of the trade group, said in the press statement.

At the same time, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled a new “Outdoor Recreation Vision” for the state. Outdoor Industry Association leaders and Utah-based OIA companies helped create the document, according to a separate OIA press statement. The new Utah outdoor policy statement is seen by many in the industry as another incentive to get the trade show to remain in the state.

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