Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on October 31st, 2006 at 1:26 pm
“I know that the point may be to shut down Interbike, but let’s be realistic, it isn’t going to happen in a year or two or even five. What happens in the mean time?”
Reactions to yesterday’s big news that Eurobike boss (and Hood River resident) Erich Reiss plans to launch a major US bike industry trade show in Portland this September (which I’ll call “Eurobike Portland” until an official name surfaces) has quickly spread around the bike biz and the web.
As I’ve talked to people involved (still waiting to hear from Reiss) and read reports on blogs and bike news outlets, reactions have ranged from shock, surprise, confusion, excitement and concern.
If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, just consider the size of Interbike (currently the major US bike industry trade show) and Eurobike. Not that Eurobike Portland would be nearly this size 11 months from now, but just for perspective…
According to the Eurobike website, this year’s show drew 31,810 trade visitors from around the world, 19,684 cycling fans on Open House Day, and 1064 journalists from 32 countries. Interbike on the other hand drew 22,000 people which included individual exhibitors, manufacturers, buyers and members of the media.
The Man Behind the Show
Erich Reiss is the force behind Eurobike’s success. I’ve yet to meet him and I don’t know much about him, but apparently he’s a very smart and capable businessman and he comes with solid credentials. According to industry veteran Michael Nover (formerly head of Mountain Cycle),
“Reiss is the head of what I consider the best trade show in the world. He’s definitely not just some guy with a big idea…he is responsible for making Eurobike a world class event.”
It certainly bodes well for Eurobike Portland that Reiss will be the man calling the shots.
According the the Portland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the OCC has about has about 250,000 square feet of space for the show. Compare that with Interbike, which uses 750,000 square feet. And don’t even ask about the disparity in hotel rooms (OK, the Venetian/Sands alone has 4,000 rooms, as much as all of downtown Portland combined).
So for the first year or so, the OCC should be fine, but if Eurobike Portland is to ever reach its full size and potential, a new location would have to be built or found.
Also, don’t forget that Reiss lives in Hood River, just minutes from epic off-road trails which would be perfect for mountain bike demos (now, if he could reserve a sunny day that’d be great).
The exact date has not yet been confirmed, but according to Bike Europe, Messe Friedrichshafen (the group behind Eurobike) has said it will happen sometime, “between mid and end of September.” That would put it smack-dab at the height of show season, which prompted Kryptonite’s Donna Tocci to write this over at Bicycle Marketing Watch:
“Do you do four shows? That’s a strain on personnel, not to mention finances…you can only be in so many places at once and only be away from home so long before you get miserable and aren’t that good at your job.”
The upside of an end of September show is that the weather is usually fantastic in Portland that time of year. I just hope Reiss doesn’t pick Cycle Oregon weekend; now that would be a difficult choice.
I’m still amazed at how this huge announcement was leaked to the media before I heard anyone talking about it. In fact, at a big meeting of Portland’s bike industry task force a few weeks ago, the Portland Oregon Visitor’s Association (POVA) had three reps in the room and none of them said a word about it.
The news about this show has also caused Don Walker of the popular North American Handmade Bicycle Show to abruptly shelve his plans to bring that show to Portland. This seems like a big downer for the PDC and Commissioner Sam who were working hard to get that show. So not only did they lose NAHBS, but it seems like they didn’t even know much about the Eurobike plans until yesterday (I think POVA has been the main player thus far).
It makes sense that Reiss worked solely with POVA on this (if indeed that’s what happened). He’s a shrewd businessman with serious backing, so he doesn’t have any reason to look for handouts and concessions from the PDC or City Hall.
The huge upside for the PDC is that this show will put Portland on the map around the world as a great place to not only live and ride, but to do bike business as well.
Will the public be invited?
Interbike is an industry-only show, no general public allowed. However, Eurobike and other European trade shows typically have a “Public Day” that is open to consumers. I hope Reiss brings this feature to the Portland show, but I have yet to hear a confirmation either way.
Ramifications for Interbike
This is immense news for Interbike. They’ve been dealing with grumbling from the Industry over the Vegas location for a long time. This news will force them to respond in some fashion. Whether that means making changes to their format or looking for another location remains to be seen.
“…if Eurobike believes that they can help our industry continue to grow cycling as a more visible and important activity in our marketplace by launching a competing show at about the same time as Interbike, then we welcome them to the family. If nothing else, the competition will help us to be even better at what we do. However, the dividing effect it could have on our industry is a concern. We believe that having an annual gathering of the industry community where we can all get together is important.”
I plan to follow this story as closely as I can so tuned for more developments.