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OR, Snow Show Plan to Merge

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  • SIA President Nick Sargent at the January 2017 Snow Show. Shop-eat-surf file photo.

Emerald Expositions, the parent company of Surf Expo, Outdoor Retailer, and dozens of other shows, has offered to buy the Snow Show from SnowSports Industries America (SIA) for $16.7 million plus ongoing license fees, has learned.

If approved by SIA's premium members, the deal would consolidate a crowded winter sports trade show calendar, which includes the January SIA Snow Show in Denver and OR shows in January and November staged in Salt Lake City.

The acquisition would create a merged January show to be called Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, and build on Emerald’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in November.

OR and SIA have separate shows calendared in January 2018 and it is unclear if both will proceed. OR announced earlier this year that it was not renewing its contract beyond summer 2018 with Salt Lake City, following actions by Utah politicians seeking to rescind protections for the Bears Ears National Monument.

But details of the sale proposal, including proposed exhibitor pricing for SIA members at a January 2018 OR Snow Show, suggest that the combined show will debut in January 2018 in Denver. SIA in January signed a 10-year contract extension with VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau to host the Snow Show in Colorado through 2030, and that contract is included as an asset in the proposed sale.


Executives at SIA and Emerald each declined to comment on show locations or on the specifics of the transaction.

Sargent announced the proposed sale of the Snow Show to Emerald in a confidential memo to about 1,000 SIA member companies sent Wednesday May 17. Shop-eat-surf is an SIA member. The Denver Post reported the offer this afternoon.

SIA’s “Premium (regular)”  members, who number about 100 of the total membership, will vote on Emerald's offer at a special meeting called for next Wednesday, May 24, in Park City or by proxy. A simple majority must approve, and then the SIA board will act based on the member vote.

Emerald will hold its first-ever quarterly earnings call the following day, following its Initial Public Offering debut on April 28, at $15 per share. The stock closed at $21.58 Thursday.

In his note to members, Sargent wrote that SIA’s executive board voted unanimously on May 5 to recommend the proposed sale, and said that Emerald’s offer presents an opportunity to enhance the value of the winter sports trade shows.


If the deal is approved, SIA would continue to have a seat on the show planning committee, as well as continue with its separate industry research and membership advocacy, consumer education, participation, and outreach missions. It would be barred from creating a competing trade show or similar event for five years.

In addition to the $16,678,973 to be paid by Emerald, SIA would also become a sponsor of the shows and license its services and trademarks to Emerald for fees totaling $75,000 a year, plus 2.5 percent of exhibitor revenue in excess of $5 million a year.

The proposed agreement also spells out exhibitor pricing for SIA members and non-members at an Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver starting in January, ranging from $14.50 to $29 per square foot depending on exhibit size.

The sale was foreshadowed as early as November 2016, when Sargent wrote to his members following Emerald’s announcement of its new November 2018 show.

“A consolidated trade show landscape that not only speaks to the current buy-sell cycle, but also better addresses the financial constraints faced by suppliers and retailers will ultimately help to unite and strengthen the industry,” he wrote at the time.

“SIA welcomes Emerald and OIA (Outdoor Industry Assoc.) to engage in constructive dialog on how best to serve the entire winter outdoor industry and the invaluable role that the SIA Snow Show plays,” he wrote then.

He reiterated that position in an interview with Shop-eat-surf from the Snow Show floor in January,

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