Inside the outdoor industry

A right old Messe

Does the industry really want two German summer shows?


The EOG’s multi-step process to address concerns about the venue of the summer trade show and possible alternatives, sought to bring about a democratic, inclusive, decision by the industry.

However, in a surprise development it seems almost like the Conservative (and Unionist) Party has now extended its remit for ruining Britain and has turned its hand to the outdoor industry’s show calendar, with the Chuckle Brothers heading up negotiations, such is the short-sighted, self-serving nature of Messe Friedrichshafen’s decision to ignore the EOG consultation and plough on regardless with its own show anyway.

“OutDoor was born at Lake Constance and has been here for a quarter of a century. We have written a unique and successful chapter for the history of this industry.”
– Klauss Wellman, Messe Friedrichshafen

“We view the vote with great disappointment. After all, the OutDoor was born at Lake Constance and has been here for a quarter of a century. We have written a unique and successful chapter for the history of this industry,” explained CEO Messe Friedrichshafen, Klaus Wellmann.


He added, “Our location, and in particular our concept for a new direction for the leading show, has good support from many EOG members, plus backing from numerous other outdoor industry players. Friedrichshafen will continue to offer a unique trade show atmosphere, where international outdoor experts set the course for the future of the business and celebrate their commitment to the outdoors. As such, we’re nevertheless confident and well prepared to enter a new outdoor trade show era at Lake Constance from 2019.”

Industry speaks

Naturally, after the EOG’s carefully thought-out plan was simply disregarded after all, a certain degree of frustration is evident from those involved in the process.

Andrew Denton, chief executive at the OIA, said: “The OIA board are close partners of the EOG and feel that they have gone out of their way to ensure the process of reviewing the summer show options.

“It has been as transparent and democratic as is possible,  and even though I heard some grumblings of the process from the floor, I genuinely would ask what on Earth they could have done more?

“The EOG membership – founders and owners of OutDoor – voted overwhelmingly – two thirds of the total, with the other third split between Hamburg and Friedrichshafen – to take the summer show to Munich with our partners ISPO. 

“I genuinely would ask what on Earth they could have done more?”
– Andrew Denton, OIA.

“Whilst their have been arguments and counter arguments on the validity of locations, there is no doubt the ease of international travel and accommodation played a huge role. One can get in and out of Messe Munich so easily, last minute bookings, change of plans, additional staff when things change – all are easy to accommodate. 

“ISPO are long term supporters of the outdoor industry and I believe having both shows with them will add to that commitment – yes it means ‘all our eggs are in Munich basket’ but it also means we are twice as important to them as a client. We have relationship continuity, an ISPO team we know and can work with, years of investment from them into the industry and a lot more besides – all of which assures our security. 

DENTON: “The industry has spoken.”

“The key point to act on now is, the industry has spoken, we are committed to a summer 2020 show in Munich. It was therefore with disappointment we heard Messe Friedrichshafen are launching another outdoor show that could go head to head with the EOG OutDoor.  I was on a working group in 1992 and 1993 when we had two shows – OutDoor and Summer ISPO – it was a nightmare, retailers and brands ended up at both shows or neither, the shows were less effective and the costs were higher for everyone. 

“We have invited the EOG to speak at the upcoming OIA conference about this on March 14th – the Secretary General Mark Held will be with us to take questions, talk about the Vision 2020 process and I hope generate the momentum to get all UK brands behind a single show for the good of all the industry.”

There’s an argument for saying the move to Munich makes it a bit too similar to ISPO, but then maybe that’s the point. It is, after all, a very successful show and much of that is down to the supporting infrastructure. Besides, while it is always nice to experience other cities, as long as there are hotels, it’s relatively easy to get to the show and there’s food, no-one cares much if it’s pretzel or pizza for lunch. Once you’re in the show hall, you could be anywhere.

Buying Munich

We asked a few people for their thoughts on the situation. Steve Newlands, MD of AMG, agrees: “We would be happy to support any venue that makes it easier for retailers to attend. I personally like Munich a lot – but never get to see much of it when i am there for ISPO!!”

Terry Stephenson , marketing manager of Montane, commented: “We’re in full support of the EOG memberships’ decision to move OutDoor to Munich from 2019 onwards.  While we are sad to be leaving Friedrichshafen, as we’ve had some great times there and it felt like home, the facilities at Messe Munich are second to none, and logistically OutDoor will benefit from even stronger transport links and local accommodation options, hopefully making the show even more accessible to UK and International retailers, which can only be good for everyone.”

“We believe the bidding and voting process for the location of OutDoor was robust and fair and don’t foresee any issue with both OutDoor and ISPO being held at the same venue. We’re looking forward to celebrating the final OutDoor at Friedrichshafen later this summer and celebrating the 25th edition of the show which coincides with our own 25th Anniversary and making it one never to forget.”

Sounds like the beers are on Terry.

Dan Mapleston, senior brand manager at Burton McCall, said: “We’ll be sorry to say goodbye to Friedrichshafen as a wonderful town and venue, but the move to Munich will mean easier travel options for many UK trade visitors.”

No doubt, there is support for holding a show in Friedrichshafen, it’s a beautiful location, but what is certain is that the industry does not need a second summer show. It’s bad enough in the UK with OTS and KORS, although the situation has improved somewhat by bringing the ROKS show in with OTS at a new venue.

If the EOG had taken a unilateral decision to up sticks and move to Munich, you could make an argument for garnering support to hold a rival show, but by organising such a fair and open decision-making process, with multiple venue options on the table, specifically to avoid the type of situation we now have, it’s hard to see how Friedrichshafen’s manoeuvrings benefit anyone.

Self-preservation in business is understandable but when they hold up your number, get off the pitch. 

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