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Committing to Chicago and McCormick Place for three years, the Dealernews International Powersports Dealer Expo will expand from its long-time Indianapolis home beginning December 2014, according to its show producer, Advanstar Powersports Group.

Dealer Expo aims to deliver more products, training, networking and excitement to the powersports industry’s annual gathering, which takes place Dec. 5-7, 2014. December is traditionally a downtime for the convention industry. Bringing in more than 10,000 attendees, the show has a projected economic impact of $15 million annually.

“I am thankful to the Carpenters union for their partnership and efforts to help lure this fast-growing show to the city,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This is a perfect example of the positive economic impact that can come to the entire city when we work together.”

Dealer Expo is the outgrowth of the Trade Show Promotion Fund committee. Comprised of four representatives of the Carpenters union and four representatives from the mayor’s office, committee members worked collaboratively with Choose Chicago, the city’s official tourism promotion agency, to identify opportunities to bring new tradeshows to Chicago.

“This is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when the City of Chicago, industry leaders and labor come together to achieve a common goal,” said Kevin McLaughlin, business representative, Carpenters Local 10. “This not only creates jobs for Chicago workers at a time when the tradeshow business is historically slow but also builds revenue for Chicago businesses.”

Pushing Chicago up to second in the U.S. for conventions, the signing of Dealer Expo is the latest in a series of deals for Chicago’s conventions, including more than $6 billion in new, renewed or extended shows that have committed to the city.

As North America’s largest and most influential powersports marketplace for retailers and consumers, Dealer Expo offers a variety of motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and personal watercraft with a strong focus on new products and the buying cycles of powersports retailers.

Beginning in 2014, Dealer Expo will offer:

  • A dedicated focus on new products – with a showcase, a Web app, demos and a show catalog – which will provide a comprehensive annual review of the industry’s new product offerings;
  • A bigger, more exciting venue – in the nation’s third-largest city, an international destination hub that is also within easy reach of more than 80 percent of U.S. powersports retailers;
  • Affordability – for attendees and exhibitors, with a wide range of hotel options and solid, practical exhibit packages;
  • An educational symposium – offering solutions delivered by professional trainers from not one but several respected organizations;
  • Late-year timing – aligned with the dealers’ need to make prime buying decisions in the fourth quarter for the coming season;
  • And a host of networking events and features.

The blueprint for the 2014 Dealer Expo was developed after months of research, polling and one-to-one conversations with retailers, manufacturers and distributors.

“We wanted everyone’s involvement on how to evolve Dealer Expo from your typical tradeshow to an all-new, must-attend industry event,” said Chris DeMoulin, executive vice president, Advanstar Communications Inc.

While responses from manufacturers and distributors addressed maintaining the quality of and increasing the number of attendees, the dealers and retailers were more concerned with access to new products and keeping the show away from other business conflicts, such as summer and fall selling seasons.

To grow as an event and to fuel sales, industry segments agreed the show had to move to a bigger market and realign with the buying cycle of the dealer network. Specifically, two-thirds of respondents supported a move to a bigger market and realigning the show dates to coincide with the gradual shift in the primary buying season for most powersports retailers to late in the fourth quarter.

Many hours were spent with representatives from McCormick Place, Chicago and the state of Illinois to ensure this seamless transition.

Also home to hundreds of powersports dealerships and dozens of manufacturers, the Chicago area is the third-largest U.S. metropolitan market for on-highway motorcycle registrations, according to Polk Research.

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