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Miami show succeeds, warts and all

By Jonathan Sweet

So as the dust clears from the 2016 Miami show, the industry should be pretty happy with the way things turned out.

Lots of positives about this year's show: The weather was good, more than 100,000 people turned out and the location was great. Frankly, the fact that the show happened has to go in that category. I remember talking to plenty of people at the 2015 show who were convinced this year's show was never going to happen. After seeing the site last year, I had my doubts as well.

The transformation of the area around Miami Marine Stadium was stunning - and a chance to actually see the outside world and the water was a drastic improvement from the Miami Beach Convention Center. (If they can only get that stadium restored ...)

Don't get me wrong - there's plenty that needs improvement, too. I was among those standing in long lines for the water taxis Thursday grumbling and cursing the show organizers as I was trying to make my way back to an event in downtown Miami. That process simply didn't work if you were in any sort of hurry -- probably more an issue for those of us in the trade than the consumers attending the show, but still a concern.

There weren't enough bathrooms or food vendors, resulting in long lines, although some of that was being addressed even as the show went on.

Those logistics issues should be relatively easy for NMMA to solve next year, and the big picture was good.

That doesn't mean there won't be challenges, though. The opponents of the show's new home (especially the village of Key Biscayne) are already gearing up for another fight. The village is once again raising concerns about traffic and is continuing its lawsuit against the city of Miami over the show. And. unfortunately, a manatee was killed in the area during the show. While County regulators and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission authorities have said there is no evidence it was due to the show, that hasn't stopped opponents from trying to capitalize on it.

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