SBJ/Jan. 17-23, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sports licensing show opening in Vegas with prediction of healthy attendance increase

As the sports economy has improved, so have the fortunes of the industry’s only remaining sports licensing show.

Organizers of the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show, which opens a three-day run in Las Vegas this week, were optimistically predicting a 40 percent attendance increase this year. They already have seen a 25 percent uptick in the number of booths on the show floor at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, from 480 to 600.

“We’re pretty much sold out, but if you really want one, we could sell you a booth near the floor,’’ joked Stanley Schwartz, co-director of the show along with Hardy Katz, both of show producers ShowProCo.

Attendance projections are equally strong, as Katz is expecting more than 7,000 attendees, up from last year’s show that drew 5,500. While most big licensors no longer buy the oversized booths that once dotted the floor of the predecessor Super Show, the NHL has returned. Returning licensors with booths include IMG College’s Collegiate Licensing Co., the Collegiate Licensed Properties Association and MLS. Additionally, most every big licensor now feels obligated to send staffers to walk the show floor, at a minimum.

While the show grew out of the remains of the now-defunct sports industry Super Show as a non-apparel “trinkets and trash” exhibition, organizers note that apparel licensees, including G-III, Franco, ’47 Brand, and Mitchell & Ness, will display this year. Noting the synergy between tailgating and sports licensed products, ShowProCo organizers combined the two markets into a show several years back.

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