It all seems so politically correct when Reed Exhibitions says it’s handing the Ontario PGA show back to the association in order to focus on the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando and PGA Fall Expo in Las Vegas.
There’s a certain amount of truth to Reed’s statement last week. A dramatic makeover is required for Orlando and Vegas, two shows that Reed bought from the PGA of America in the late ‘90s, but have since lost the pizzazz they once possessed.
However, just as important is the fact that Reed wouldn’t walk away from a property that was a money-maker in Ontario. As John McGeary, vice president of Reed, told me last week, the show was still making money for the company, but was it enough to make it worthwhile?
When the deal to buy the Orlando and Vegas shows first went down, it was suggested in some quarters that green grass buyers may have lost any commitment they once had to these events now owned by a commercial entity such as Reed instead of the PGA of America.
There may have been a tad of truth to that statement, but it’s far from the entire story because you have to wonder about the future of Orlando and Vegas, just as you do other shows staged around the continent whether they’re run by Reed or PGA zones or sections.
Over the years, there have been several reasons floated for the deterioration of buying shows in general such as buyer apathy and the expense of exhibiting. However, new factors have entered into it as the marketplace has changed over the years.
For one thing, the Internet has provided information to buyers that they never had before and the buying cycles have changed dramatically as soft goods companies are now looking for numbers by late summer, making the fall dates in Canada less than prime time for buying.
The Ontario PGA will look at all of these factors as it considers the future of its show and discusses it with its members. The evolving buying cycle will be a big topic of conversation and one of the ideas that will be presented is the possibility of late summer dates to keep it more relevant.
I’m just not so sure how that will go over among association members. Golf professionals I’ve talked with have brought up the concern that they need to be in their shops, concerned with running their operations instead of away at a buying show in peak season.
So, summer dates are far from a slam dunk, but if anything is certain about the shows, it’s uncertainty and that doesn’t just apply to Ontario.
Rumours are circulating in the industry about a possible boycott by exhibitors at the B.C. show due to poor attendance this year and there’s word that companies weren’t pleased with the Atlantic PGA’s decision to transform its show from a hotel presentation to an open concept this year without any discussion with them.
You can discuss and debate all of these issues all you want for they are sensitive topics, especially with the shows meaning so much to the individual zones and associations that host them due to the revenue they bring in. However, it’s clear that the shows are now more of a contentious issue than they ever have been.
That brings us to the topic of this week’s GNN Poll,
Given the changing marketplace, how much longer do you see the Canadian buying season unfolding in the same way it did in 2010?
- 1-3 years (45%)
- Change will be immediate (32%)
- We've been talking for years and nothing much changes (18%)
- 3-5 years (5%)
Be sure to cast your vote below or on the home page. There are also several topics to discuss in the Comments box below. What are the possible solutions? Do summer dates work? Is it time for one big Canadian super show or one east and one west? What’s the future of Orlando and Vegas?
It’s your turn to talk.