The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) just announced that they have reached an agreement with Reed Exhibitions to terminate the contract which put Reed in charge of managing the SHOT Show. Reed had managed the show for more than 30 years. Starting immediately, the NSSF is seeking a new company to manage the 2014 SHOT Show.
As many of you know, Reed Exhibitions made an unusual move earlier in the year when they decided that certain semi-automatic rifles would not be allowed at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show because of their appearance. The Eastern Sports show is a consumer show not affiliated with the SHOT Show or the NSSF. The ban of AR-15 rifles, and all other modern sporting rifles, from the show appeared to be a political move on the part of Reed Exhibitions.
As a result of Reed’s banning of certain firearms they deemed inappropriate, more than 100 vendors canceled their appearances. Reed claimed the cancelations were only a “small percentage” of the total exhibitors, but canceled the event anyway. The NSSF was displeased by Reed Exhibitions’ decision to single out certain types of common firearms, and stated in a press release that “[The] NSSF is considering all options regarding the management of future SHOT Shows.”
Fortunately for the NSSF, the location for the 2014 SHOT Show is already secured, and the location has been used for several years. That will undoubtedly ease the transition to a new management company. However, time is short for a new management company to get up to speed for the event. January 2014 may seem like a long way off, but it is not for the planning and running of a huge expo. Hopefully, the NSSF can bring a new team on board quickly.
The upside is a new team might bring new ideas to the table. While I have not had any major complaints about any of the shows I have attended, there have been some lingering complaints from some about exhibitor space, attendee selection and the choice of show locations. I don’t expect any serious changes for 2014, but 2015 and beyond might usher in a whole new ball game.