To Go or Not To Go - That's The Question

The Oscars of the Sports Industry are around the corner and just as in Hollywood, sports enthusiasts wonder again this year: Who will attend ISPO? Already last year, Burton Snowboards’ announcement that they would not exhibit in the future caused much fanfare. Other long-term partners such as Amer Sports Group and Oberalb Group explained in late 2017 that they, too, would pull out. 

I have been attending the sports fair for years and my observations confirm that renowned brands increasingly question the fair as such. Unfortunately, with each passing year answers as to why that’s the case become increasingly unclear. This is why I, too, decided against travelling to Munich this year. Of course, face-to-face discussions are still the foundation of all solid business relationships. But going off my experience, visitors are so much under the pump that you can only expect superficial talks of little depth. Many exhibitors report similar experiences: Pre-orders rarely roll in – ISPO serves merely as a networking opportunity these days. How long can a fair be successful under such conditions? 

The ISPO has been trying for years to position itself as a holistic business partner of the Sports Industry. In reaction to the changes on the market and in society, they developed their own products such as ISPO Innovation. If those add any real value, however, remains to be seen. Another thought I would like to challenge is this: Can a fair authentically bridge the gap between real consultancy services and fair business in relation to its customers? Personally, I think that ISPO struggles in those areas and I would therefore like to see them return to their core competencies: the connecting of industries, retailers, and international markets.