U.S. boat shows draw over 170,000 attendees so far

Over the past two weeks, NMMA has concluded six more boat and sportshows across the country, attracting more than 170,000 people across all shows and reporting positive exhibitor feedback and quality attendees.

The Progressive Insurance Atlanta Boat Show concluded Jan. 19, reporting a total attendance of 28,181 down 3% compared to 2019 (28,917). Back to Hall C, after being temporarily moved to Hall A, the show was able to take advantage of the brand new Hall B/C connector space for the first time and exhibitors were excited by their conversations and sales. Additionally, the show brought back the popular $5 after 5 p.m. discount Thursday and Friday, hosted the second annual Career Day for local high school and college students interested in a career in the marine industry, and welcomed the brand new Discover Boating Experience (DBX) as a space for guests to mingle and relax while listening to short form seminars about boating.

The Progressive Insurance Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow closed its five-day run with an attendance of 40,121, down slightly 3% compared to 2019 (41,181). The overall sentiment from exhibitors has been positive, with many reporting a strong start to the show with continued sales through the weekend. The show’s second annual Super Thursday was a highlight for both attendees and exhibitors, which included a $5 after 5 p.m. ticket featuring one-day only special offers and meet-and-greets with superheroes. Additional highlights included the Four Roses sponsorship featuring bourbon tastings and seminars; an NMMA sportshow favorite, the Hawg Trough featuring daily fishing seminars; and the annual Poker Run on Friday night.

The Progressive Insurance New York Boat Show reported a 10% decrease in attendance with 37,378 attendees vs. last year’s attendance of 41,582. Though Saturday’s heavy rainfall could have deterred the crowds, exhibitors reported strong sales and quality consumers. Even more, the Show began with a bang, as Governor Cuomo hosted a ribbon cutting opening day alongside NMMA president, Frank Hugelmeyer, while giving remarks about the future expansion of the Javits Center and potential for the Show. Following, and to celebrate opening day, NMMA and Progressive jointly rang the Closing Bell at the NYSE Wednesday evening. Additionally, the Show hosted their annual Career Day on Thursday morning, providing two interactive learning sessions for more than 100 students from local New York schools.

The Progressive Insurance Baltimore Boat Show reported 12,905 attendees, down nine percent from 2019’s attendance (14,104). That said, the show expanded more than 30,000 square feet this year, and exhibitors shared positive sentiments about the quality of attendees. Even more, Show highlights proved to continue to be fan favorites of attendees including the hands-on fishing simulator, Career Day in partnership with the Maryland Marine Trade Association, 10th Annual Crab Picking Contest, and the Progressive Boathouse Virtual Reality Boat Race.

The Progressive Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo saw 16,832 attendees, up 1% from 2019’s attendance of 16,747. The lineup of seminar speakers and fishing products at the show continues to be a hit with the media and attendees. This year, some of the most elite anglers drew large crowds including Jordan Lee and Brandon Palaniuk. Additional highlights included the brand new Women in Fishing Q&A/Panel and yearly Family Day giveaway.

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The Progressive Insurance Minneapolis Boat Show  is reporting strong sales amongst exhibitors, but was down 9% in attendance totaling 34,730 attendees this year vs. 2019 (38,258). The show opened with a special sneak peek night on Wednesday evening, sharing news of the third annual Innovation Award winners. Additionally, the new “Land of 10,000 Lakes” Lifestyle Experience, returning Antique & Classic Boat Display, Career Day for local high school and college students, and lineup of 700 boats were highlights of the weekend.

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