Russia’s largest international sporting-goods show took place at the Expo Center on March 13–16, 2002. The show had strong emphasis on water sports, but more than half of the 40,000-square-foot hall was occupied by other summer sports, similar to ISPO.
As always, the 2002 Moscow International Exhibition Sport & Leisure Show was open to the public, and the majority of visitors were from Russia–less then five percent total came from other countries like Ukraine and Belarus. Two-thirds of Russian attendees came from the Moscow area, and the rest represented a few other big cities like St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Samara, Yekaterinburg, and Yaroslavl–most of which already have skateboard shops and parks. The estimated number of total visits to the Spring Sports Show was 50,000 over four days.
After the dramatic financial crisis in 1998 the Russian economy is back to normal, and the skateboarding market is up and running. Major U.S. and European brands have already established contacts with Russian distributors, which now promote and sell Western products. But more and more Russian companies recognize the growing popularity of skateboarding and are attempting to get into the business. Competition is growing, and Russian distributors fight with each other for established skate brands.
Along with dominant street brands like adidas, Nike, and Reebok, this year Russians got acquainted not only with the full line of Vans shoes, but also with some newcomers to the Russian market, like Globe, Savier, and Vision Street Wear.
Businesspeople and ordinary skaters were able to check out the latest hardgoods from Santa Cruz, Tum Yeto, Zero, Independent, Foundation, and Vision. Austrian snowboard company Oxygen is now manufacturing skateboards, which were also shown in Moscow.
Outside “the ‘core zone,” one unusual booth demonstrated skateboard spinoffs, with everything from toy boards, Dirt Boards, and Freeboards, to fourteen-wheeled monsters.
Boardwear is a growing fashion trend in Russia these days. The established brands present included Billabong, Ecko, Iguana, No Fear, Oakley, Protest, and Rip Curl.
The twice-annual Moscow International Sports Show is an accurate snapshot of what is happening and available in the growing Russian action-sports community, and is a good destination for anyone who wants to check out the myths and realities of Russian skateboard life. So mark your calendars, plan well in advance, rely on a responsible Russian business partner, and be prepared to get a visa a week or two in advance.
For more information on the Moscow International Sports Show, check out miss-mibs.ru.