ISPO – Bavarian Mayhem

Bavarian MayhemDespite a slightly smaller turnout than previous years, the summer ispo show in Munich drew a global crowd.

From a skateboard-industry perspective, the ispo show holds value in its appeal to the European companies, retailers, distributors, and manufacturers who otherwise might not be able to attend ASR shows in the U.S.

As a result, the majority of the Northern, Western, and Eastern European skateboard industry continues to flock to Munich to attend the ispo show. And at this summer’s show, there were many distributors, retailers, and companies from the Scandinavian, Eastern European, and former Soviet countries that weren’t able to make it to Biarritz, France for the debut ASR show held there the following weekend. Granted, it was at the heels of the recently defunct Glissexpo show held in Paris, but the European industry’s curiosity regarding ASR’s entry into the European marketplace and spectrum of trade shows was made conspicuous by the number of attendees that made it to both shows.

On that note, according to ispo figures, the total number of visitors at the show reached over 30,000.

Companies that exhibited at the show include Element, Vision Streetwear, Dragon, Canada’s Premium Wood, Globe and Gallaz, Nikita, Carhartt, Nixon, Finland’s Control Skateboards, JimmyZ, Spy Optics, Adrenalin, Vans, Gotcha, Roxy, Hawk Clothing, Quiksilver, Oakley, Rusty, Billabong, Redsand, Tech Deck, and many others. Through various European distributors, many other brands were also well-represented at the show. For example, Urban Supplies Distribution showed the latest from DC Shoes, Zero, Element Skateboards, and World Industries; and R.O.U.G.H Distribution offered such popular brands as IPath, éS, Aesthetics, Sanuk, Grind King, Record, and Osiris.

Kevin Mitchell is the international sales manager at IPath footwear and traveled to ispo from Los Angeles to meet with his distributors and accounts. Asked what he thought of this year’s show, he replied, “Not as bad as I expected, but there was a noticeable decrease in attendance, and the booth sizes have shrunk considerably.”

ispo Exhibition Director Peter Knoll seems very satisfied with the turnout at this year’s summer show. “We had huge changes with this show, and we didn’t know what to expect, but for us and for the industry it was better than expected,” he says. “The retailer quality was really good, and the general mood at the show was really good.”

Because there are so many sports represented at the ispo show, each one is separated into a community with its own hall at the convention center. Mick Wallace, the community manager for Board ispo, is in charge of working with the boardsports industries to organize the Board ispo sector of the show: “This summer show was a lot better than we expected.”

It’s important to note that the European market is economically evolving at rapid speeds with the strengthening and stabilizing effect of the Euro currency on continental European economies. The current state of the U.S. economy brings added benefit for Europe in the areas of trade. And maybe as an indirect result of these factors, European interest in skateboarding continues to grow very steadily, perhaps more so than in the U.S. right now. So with both a strengthening European market and interest in the sport, the presence and stronghold of regional brands is really, and finally, taking hold in Europe.

For Helsinki, Finland-based Control Skateboards, this is its second ispo show. The company is run out of Helsinki’s Santaco Distribution Ltd. “It seems that there aren’t that many brands compared to last time,” says Vesa Huttunen, owner and director of Santaco. “Probably due to the ASR in Biarritz next weekend. I think there are going to be a lot of brands over there that aren’t over here at ispo.”

“We usually go to both ASR shows in the U.S.,” adds Esa Hytonen, sales manager of Control Skateboards, throwing in that the Finnish trade shows and ispo are thonly shows the company exhibits at. “We were thinking of having a booth at the ASR show in Biarritz, but it’s so close to this one, so we’re not going to.

“It’s hard to compare the shows, because in Finland we’re dealing with the same customers, but here at ispo, it’s more up to us to look for new ones. We go to ASR just to see what’s going on and what the styles are,” Hytonen continues.

Skate Summit

Board ispo organized a three-day Skate Summit event for the first time at the summer show. Held in a specially designed area, the first day was designated “Shop Day,” where according to ispo promotional materials: “Sixteen ‘core shops from ten different countries introduce their philosophies of pushing skateboarding in their areas.” Presenting shops included Adrenalin from Moscow, Russia; Attitude from Bremen, Germany; Fakie Shop from Meran, Italy; Mystic Skates from Prague, Czech Republic; Pulp 68 from Geneva, Switzerland; Sessions from Slovenia; and Titus Franchise Shops from Germany; among others.

In addition to the shop philosophy discussion, the Adio team showed up for an autograph signing: Bam Margera, Danny Montoya, Jeremy Wray, Brian Sumner, and Kenny Anderson, as well as the ams.

Other events organized for Shop Day included a debate inviting representatives from skate shops to discuss “the future of skateboard shops: more than selling products?”

A best-trick rookie session was also held on a makeshift street course in the skate summit area, where on the second day a high- ollie contest was held. Lots of couches, a coffee bar, and ample beer kept the summit area busy all weekend.

Ongoing skate videos, a plethora of skate mags, and a constant flow of DJs spinning live music also contributed to the atmosphere-basically creating a three-day party.

Media Day, held the second day of the Skate Summit, focused on skate videos and magazines and introduced what ispo described as “the most important and most interesting European skateboard video productions.” Videos from companies such as Italy’s European Airlines, Germany’s Monster Movie Magazine, and Playboard Sk8 Video Magazine #1, along with several others.

The final day of the Summit was Event Day, where representatives from some of Europe’s largest skateboard contests were present and available to provide information about their event settings, philosophies, and future plans. Events represented included the Etnies Bowlmasters in Austria; the Globe World Championships of Skateboarding; 22nd Monster Mastership in Dortmund, Germany; Marseille’s famous Quiksilver Bowlriders competition; and the Prague Mystic Sk8 Cup.

Background

One thing that clearly makes the ispo organization unique amongst all other large trade-show companies is that it is owned by the city of Munich and consequently works very intimately with the city to stimulate tourism and fill the city’s thousands of hotel beds. ispo show-goers are all presented with an ispo card that not only provides them with admission into the show but also the valuable benefit of unlimited access to the Munchner Verkehrsund Tarifverbund (MVT), the city of Munich’s transport system featuring a subway system, an urban railway, trams, and buses. And like many other trade-show companies and organizations, ispo also works with local bars, clubs, and venues to hold events during the four-day-long sport-industry-related trade-show extravaganza.

The ispo show covers its mega range of sports by dividing them up into separate ispo communities in individual halls. This summer’s show included communities for: bike, fitness, footwear, kids, outdoor, racket, board sports, style, surf, team sports, textrend, and women. And these are just categories that encompass tens, maybe even hundreds of sports including soccer, tennis, racketball, squash, fitness, cycling, running, in-line skates, camping, surfing, skateboarding, Ping-Pong, among others. Consequently, the ispo show possesses mass appeal for those companies, brands, retailers, and manufacturers of the sporting-goods industry at large. The winter show also includes snowboarding and skiing. Add to that a beachwear, streetwear, and urban lifestyle element, and you might get the idea of how mammoth this show is. However, there’s no question that the state-of-the-art Neue Messe München convention center can fit absolutely everyone. At 2.7-million square feet, the place is absolutely massive. Opened in February 1998, the venue has hosted up to 500 events in a year.

In addition to being rich in culture and history, Munich, Germany is a cosmopolitan center that is truly a standing tribute to some incredible architecture. It ranges from many Roman-inspired buildings, to modern contemporary structures such as the Neue Messe München, or The New Munich Trade Fair Centre where the city’s ispo show is held twice a year.nds, retailers, and manufacturers of the sporting-goods industry at large. The winter show also includes snowboarding and skiing. Add to that a beachwear, streetwear, and urban lifestyle element, and you might get the idea of how mammoth this show is. However, there’s no question that the state-of-the-art Neue Messe München convention center can fit absolutely everyone. At 2.7-million square feet, the place is absolutely massive. Opened in February 1998, the venue has hosted up to 500 events in a year.

In addition to being rich in culture and history, Munich, Germany is a cosmopolitan center that is truly a standing tribute to some incredible architecture. It ranges from many Roman-inspired buildings, to modern contemporary structures such as the Neue Messe München, or The New Munich Trade Fair Centre where the city’s ispo show is held twice a year.