ASR reworks it show, while Agenda heads north.
This story first appeared in the June 24, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
SAN DIEGO — Some big changes are in the pipeline for the Action Sports Retailers and Agenda expos in Southern California. With the economic downturn focusing attention on the timing and relevance of industry trade shows, dates and locations for the shows have shifted. Agenda is relocating from San Diego to Huntington Beach this summer and Los Angeles this coming winter, while ASR has moved its 2010 show dates from January to February and from September to August. ASR show director Andy Tompkins said the calendar changes were necessary to keep pace with buying and manufacturing schedules, based largely on feedback from retailers who are trying to hold onto their dollars as long as possible. “We think the new dates will bolster participation — we’re starting to see people come out of hibernation and commit late,” Tompkins said.
Having struggled with exhibitor exodus and dwindling buyer attendance over the last year, a toned-down ASR is starting to emerge, and organizers are taking aggressive measures to lure buyers and exhibitors alike. Tompkins said ASR’s prices for the Sept. 10 to 12 show were reduced by about 25 percent over last September, and organizers are infusing new life to the show through a five-year licensing deal — valued between $1 million and $2 million — with Class trade show founder Jason Bates to bring his two-year-old concept to San Diego. Called Class@ASR, the idea is to bring fashion-forward, upscale brands to the mix, adding diversity to an exhibitor roster traditionally comprised of surf-skate stalwarts. The Class addition will target boutique buyers and some 100 contemporary labels, including Modern Amusement, Original Penguin and Howe.
The show will take place in the San Diego Convention Center with ASR, but will be curated and organized separately. Buyers can roam freely between the shows. The price points for the Class exhibitors will be 15 to 20 percent higher than the brands at ASR, on average. The biggest change of the summer is the relocation of Agenda, which has unhitched its wagon from ASR and San Diego and taken the show on the road. Agenda will now take place in Huntington Beach from July 22 to 23 to coincide with the U.S. Open of Surfing, an annual event, which draws more than 300,000 fans. The new show will take place over two days at the Hyatt Regency hotel, and Agenda has partnered with IMG Sports and Entertainment, which operates the surfing competition, though unlike the sporting event, Agenda won’t be open to the public. A side effect of the move and expansion is the shift toward larger, more established brands.
Organizers said this was a product of the economic climate and market conditions, with fewer opportunities existing in the surf-skate category for new brands today than several years ago. The show’s costs have increased to $3,500 per booth, though the booths are larger and the price is now all-inclusive. The revamped show will have about 100 brands, including majors like Nike, Volcom, Vans and Hurley. Making Moves ASR reworks it show, while Agenda heads north. ASR will run Sept. 10 to 12.