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Volume 20 No. 42
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Sports Licensing show set to open in Las Vegas with new owner, bigger location

The Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show, the industry’s sole remaining licensing exhibition, opens this week with a new owner in Nielsen Expositions, which purchased the show late last year. It will also be held in a bigger location at the Las Vegas Convention Center with an uptick in sales of more than 10 percent and more than 650 exhibitors.

As the licensing industry got healthier over the past several years, so has the show, which has been held at Mandalay Bay for the past several years. While the show was acquired late last year by Nielsen Expositions, it will be operated this year by past show directors Hardy Katz and Stanley Schwartz, who said revenue was up 11 percent for this year’s exhibition. They said buyers from the likes of Wal-Mart and Costco were registered.

For the second consecutive year, the NBA will set up at the show two days early with its own Team Retail Expo, where licensees will display for an audience of team buyers and retailers. Other licensees at the show include CLC, MLS, NASCAR and MLB. With its lockout settled, the NHL last week was trying to find display space. Given the timing of the show, a few weeks before the Super Bowl, there is minimal NFL involvement.

Katz and Schwartz launched the licensing show six years ago from the ashes of the once-mighty Super Show, a comprehensive sporting goods exposition they once managed for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. The Super Show, which closed in 2006 after a 21-year run, attracted more than 90,000 attendees during its biggest years in Atlanta.

Katz and Schwartz, who will continue with the show for a year as consultants, began conversations with Nielsen Expositions five months ago. Nielsen’s other sports shows include Outdoor Retailer, Interbike and Health & Fitness Business Expo.

“We have shows that are related and shows that are tangential, like the Imprinted Sportswear Shows, and there is talk about and interest in the licensing business at all of them,” said Darrell Denny, senior vice president of business development at Nielsen Expositions.

Katz said their current agreement has the show committed to Las Vegas through next year. However, Denny said the future location was yet to be determined.