Outdoor Retailer Finds New Home in Denver

Outdoor Retailer Finds New Home in Denver

The results are in: After months of uncertainty over where the Outdoor Retailer (OR) trade show would choose as its new home, reports state that Denver, Colorado will be the new host of OR beginning in January 2018.

All interested parties are remaining mum until an official press conference today, but word on the street is that Denver, Colorado will be the new home of the Outdoor Retailer summer and winter trade shows.

Outdoor Retailer announced in mid-February, 2017, that it would it would not return to its 20-year home of Salt Lake City, Utah after the expiration of its existing commitment through 2018. The decision was motivated by Utah legislators’ attacks on public land policies which threaten National Monuments such as Bears Ears, among others. Outdoor brands, professional athletes and the wider community of outdoor recreationists have waged a sophisticated campaign against these regressive public lands policies over the past several months, lobbying government officials of all stripes.

Suitor cities have wooed OR since that announcement, hoping to land the hosting gig from 2019 onwards and reap the economic benefits that the OR brings with it. In recent years, the summer and winter trade shows drew some 45,000 visitors to Utah and generated $45 million of economic activity in the state.

The Denver area was viewed early on as a leading contender to succeed Salt Lake City, what with its existing status as an outdoor industry hub, with companies like La Sportiva, Osprey Packs and Smartwool all headquartered nearby.

"I See What You Mean," a piece of public art by Lawrence Argent more commonly known as the Blue Bear, peers into the Colorado Convention Center, the new home of the Outdoor Retailer summer and winter trade shows. Photo: Jeff Turner from Santa Clarita, CA, United States (Denver Convention Center - Big Blue Bear)

One of the early signs that Denver was going to be OR’s new home came in a May press release from Emerald Expositions, proprietor of the Outdoor Retailer brand. The press release announced Emerald Expositions acquisition of the SnowSports Industries America Snow Show, and stated, “It’s anticipated that the first combined Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show trade show will stage January 2018 in Denver, Colorado.” Nonetheless, final confirmation that OR would move to Denver remained contingent on successful negotiations with Colorado government officials.

The Denver Post reports that those negotiations between Emerald Expositions and state and local Colorado government officials, spanning the past year-and-a-half, have resulted in an agreement that will see OR staged at the Colorado Convention Center for a period of five years, beginning with the winter show in January 2018. This means that OR will leave Salt Lake City at the end of 2017, a year and two show installments earlier than anticipated.

Expected attendees of the July 6 press conference include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock; and higher-ups from Emerald Expositions.

Check back at The Outdoor Journal for further updates!

Feature Image: Sunrise over the Denver Skyline. Photo: Robert Kash.