ASR And SIMA Sign Revenue-Sharing Deal And Announce Launch Of European Trade Show

In what may prove to be one of the most important events in the history of the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA), ASR and SIMA have signed a landmark agreement that brings the two organizations closer together while potentially giving SIMA the increased financing it needs to provide enhanced services to its members and the surf industry.

Under the new terms, which were not fully disclosed, SIMA will now “actively and aggressively” promote the SIMA-endorsed ASR shows to its members and surf retailers. In return, ASR will support SIMA and its efforts to grow the industry through expanded funding, including a revenue-sharing plan.

“The agreement was unanimously approved in principle by the SIMA Board of Directors,” says SIMA Executive Director Terry McCann. “There were no dissenting votes.”

Meanwhile, in a seperate agreement, EuroSIMA — the European surf-industry trade association — has chosen ASR to produce a new European trade show, to be held July 6 – 8 in southwest France. The new ASR Europe show will take place the week after the ISPO Munich show (held June 29 – July 1) and could significantly alter the buy-in process in the booming European market. “We plan on being very ‘hands on,'” notes Kevin Flanagan, group trade show director for ASR. “That was one of the most attractive aspects from SIMA’s point of view.”

The U.S. Deal
Although SIMA has endorsed the ASR Long Beach and San Diego trade shows since the formation of the association in 1989, it’s never developed the type of close association this new deal promises to offer.

“The new expanded agreement, which becomes effective in January 2003, is designed to create more of a strategic partnership between SIMA and ASR with the best interests of the industry in mind. It’s a totally new relationship,” says Sean Smith, SIMA’s managing director. “Any {negative} perceptions of previous politics have been erased. We finally have the best business arrangement we could hope for.”

The ten-year agreement calls for SIMA to continue to exclusively endorse ASR shows in the Western United States, including the ASR Long Beach and San Diego shows, as well as the new ASR Fall Show.

When asked how this will affect the relationship with Surf Expo, McCann replies, “This agreement pertains only to activity west of the Mississippi. We expect that similar agreements will be reached with our other show partners as well.” Up until this point, the agreements SIMA had with ASR and Surf Expo were very similar.

“SIMA has worked hard over the past year to put together a member benefits package that really helps members,” says Dick Baker, president of SIMA and CEO of Ocean Pacific. “SIMA now offers discounts for everything from FedEx to freight-shipping discounts to business-liability insurance and more. With the expanded support of ASR, SIMA will now be able to tackle projects that will help the industry grow, such as annual market-research reports.”

[IMAGE 1]In order to strengthen its role as a provider of educational programming, SIMA will now assist in the creation of seminars and conferences offered at all endorsed ASR shows and will receive co-branding. In addition, paid members of SIMA will receive a number of key benefits as a part of the agreement. ASR will continue to provide meeting space for the SIMA hospitality suite at all SIMA-endorsed shows where members can send faxes, make copies, get coffee, or hold meetings — all free of charge.

Other benefits being offered to paid SIMA members include a discount on the purchase of the ASR retail attendance disk for each show and one free badge credential for SIMA board builders per company not exhibiting at the show. Plus, along with key factors such as tenure, product, category and exhibit size requirements, paid membership in SIMA will be considered into final show layout within the surf category for each member company.

“Our main goal in negotiating this new aagreement was to be sure that it not only served the interests of the industry, but offered real benefits to individual companies,” says Joel Cooper, chairman of the SIMA Trade Show Committee and CEO of Lost International. “ASR has stepped up to meet that challenge.”

As part of the agreement, SIMA will work more aggressively toward growing retailer attendance — ultimately benefiting exhibitors by increasing show traffic and buyers on the floor. In addition, ASR has expanded its role as a prime contributor in the surf industry with the new agreement. “For the next ten years, ASR is financially committed to supporting SIMA’s annual Surf Summit industry conference {currently co-produced by Transworld SURF Business}, and the Waterman’s Weekend,” says Flanagan. “It’s a real partnership now.”

“A good example of that {new partnership} is the ASR Fall Show, which SIMA will now endorse wholeheartedly,” adds Baker. “That’s what makes the agreement so exciting.”

What affect SIMA’s partnership with ASR will have on the skate industry remains to be seen. At this past September’s ASR show in San Diego there was a closed-door meeting between ASR and several prominant members of the skate industry to address how ASR and the skate industry could forge closer ties and alleviate the growing resentment a few skate brands brands have about the cost and relevance of the September show. Apparently those negotiations are ongoing.

The European Deal
Perhaps the biggest news — at least from a global standpoint — was the launch of the new ASR Europe show, which EuroSIMA will exclusively endorse. The five-year agreement between ASR and EuroSIMA creates a new European surf-trade show in Anglet, France beginning in July 2003. Flanagan, who will manage the show from ASR’s Laguna Beach, California offices, has experience with the European market and lived in France while working with Oakley in the late 90s.

[IMAGE 2]”We knew we had to develop a new show,” says Alan Tiegin, EuroSIMA’s executive director. “What we had wasn’t serving the needs of the members.”

ASR Europe will extend a number of benefits and discounts to EuroSIMA members participating in the show. In addition, U.S.-based SIMA members can benefit from a discount on an ASR show held in the United States if they purchase equivalent space for the ASR Europe show.

Although separate entities, EuroSIMA and SIMA are similar organizations, with EuroSIMA serving the interests of European surf manufacturers. The two organizations have recently been working together. “Alan Tiegen has been coming to the Cabo conference and talking to us for some time now,” explains Terry McCann. “When he asked for help in EuroSIMA’s search for a trade-show producer, we brought him the top U.S. candidates.” In addition to ASR, those candidates included Surf Expo and Ispo. VNU, the parent company of ASR, is located in Holland.

The new ASR Europe show will apparently be in direct competition with Glissexpo, an action-sports trade show founded in Biarritz, France in 1991, as well as the ISPO show in Munich.

“Trade shows in Europe have become more important to the surf and action-sports industry,” says Harry Hodge, president of EuroSIMA and CEO of Quiksilver Europe. “The ASR/EuroSIMA partnership is an important step in evolving a trade show that truly represents our industry. ASR will, in my opinion, be invaluable in promoting the industry to the benefit of our members.”

Look for more on the past, present, and future of SIMA in the January issue of TransWorld SURF Business magazine.