ISPO Preview & Interview

ISPO is returning to its early February slot for 2017 but with its traditional Sunday to Wednesday schedule. The action sports categories will continue to be located at the east side of the complex in halls B5, B6 and A6 where it moved to last year, so don’t forget Messestadt Ost is your get off point on the U Bahn.


ISPO continues to be the pre-eminent winter sports show globally with significantly more visitors than any of the other major continental sports shows and within Europe the next biggest winter trade event has 1/16 of the number of visitors. Last year
2,645 exhibitors and over 80,000 industry professionals attended the show. ISPO is Europe’s one opportunity for a big tribal gathering of the action sports communities. All other trade events are either niche focused offering opportunity only for the already converted or are purely national in scope. Likewise, the size of the international audience attending the show was underlined last year with 87% of exhibitors and 65% of visitors coming from abroad, from countries all around the globe.


Following last year’s hall reorganization which essentially saw outdoor and action sports swap halls, ISPO has introduced the Polygon concept into the Action Sports hall B6. Polygon is ISPO’s new standardized exhibition layout that brings a fresh inclusive community feel to the hall. To achieve this Polygon offers four sizes of stands, the smallest in the middle and the tallest and biggest around the perimeter. So the hall is now accessible to brands whatever their size. With the standardization of exhibitor spaces the hall has been reorganized with two wide corridors running from one end of the hall to the other with the snowboard brands grouped at one end and then areas for skate and shoes. Also in the hall are the community platforms; Longboard Embassy, ISPO Inspire, Tailgate Munich, Job speed dating, the blogger lounge, central bar and chill out area, a product presentation area, the Monochrom City and the ISPO action sports awards display. For its fifth year, Tailgate Alaska has been expanded yet again as demand has grown. As always this platform showcases new brands and innovative products from the snowboard market. Tailgate will also feature educational clinics, presentations, legends’ stories and daily seminars on products and trends, snow science and backcountry safety. Tailgate is all about sharing insight and helping to educate buyers and shop staff on the backcountry market. Retailers who visit will benefit from the focus this platform brings to this increasingly important and growing niche. With more than 50 partners ISPO Inspire is now one of the biggest collaborative platforms at the show and is run by Brands for Good and Greenroom Voice, two of the most innovative and specialised agencies in CSR. The platform will have exhibits from over 50 brands, programs and projects and including global NGOs such as Amnesty International and Skateistan and will be showcasing brands, which are already putting CSR within their core business development objectives. Additionally GreenroomVoice’s new Transparency Tool will enable all related information to be displayed in one graphic at Inspire.

In hall B5 the focus is on apparel, accessories, scooters, helmets and the ISPO Brandnew Awards. ISPO brand new is the biggest platform for sport startups worldwide. Many of today’s successful sports brands started here and this is an opportunity for retailers to find the products of the future.

Hall A6 with its focus on optics, water sports, freeski and apparel also includes the Snow Summit, Waterports village and the Cold Water Surfing platforms. The Snow Summit is all about free skiing and backcountry. The platform will act as a central meeting point for industry, bloggers, designers, artist, athletes and journalists from this community and enable retailers and show visitors to come to one location and find all the up and coming brands in the segment. As last year the platform sponsor is Mips Technologies AB and this year the media partner is ARGE Freeride Testival, Europe’s biggest freeride test event. A program of scheduled presentations will be released closer to the show and Mips will offers its Mips Technology Workshop.


ISPO Water Sports Village, the platform for all water sports at the show has changed locations within the hall to give the platform space for more exhibitors. Kayaking, stand up paddling, wakeboarding, swimming, diving and surfing will all share the area around a 200 sq metre heated pool. This will be the focus of all the water activities and allow products from all water sport brands to be presented and tested in the element they were made for. Retailers should visit the village not only for the brand exhibits but also for the action packed schedule of events in the pool and interviews with top athletes. Each day there will be four test periods in which retailers can try out the material that is exhibited on the stands around the Water Sports Village. Bathing shorts and towels are supplied so all you need to do is turn up with the kit you want to test as the changing rooms are directly beside the pool. New for this year, the Cold Water Surfing platform is being relocated close to the Watersports Village and an Ultimate Surf Gear exhibition will be added, with four product categories on display: Technical surf innovations, Yulex wetsuits, Sustainable surfboards and Sustainable/upcycled accessories. NGOs who fight ocean pollution such as Surfers Against Sewage, Surfrider Foundation and Parley for the Ocean will also be on display. A daily surf-specific program with expert talks, presentations and discussions from 1-2pm will be followed by beer and movie sessions from 5-6pm. With much of Europe’s coastline fitting into the CWS category retailers should drop by to look at the dedicated CWS product offerings. The Camp de Base presented by Outdoor Sports Valley, in partnership with Sporaltec, the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region, and Union Sport & Cycle, which will see 21 French brands clustered together. The OSV has organized three fashion shows to be held during the first two days of the trade show. Around the pool in the watersports village, and every evening from 5:30pm, retailers and brands our welcome to join the after work party.

With all markets so much in flux it’s critical boardsports retailers and brands are out there interacting with other sports communities. This is where an event the scale of ISPO offers real value. ISPO is still the biggest sports show on earth; even North America doesn’t have a single show to rival it. With all these different sport communities and nationalities congregated in one place ISPO uniquely offers opportunities and connections to develop your retail and brand business.

Interview with ISPO’s Markus Hefter

Markus Hefter

Markus Hefter

What are the overall exhibitor figures for this year?
For the first time we expect 2,732 exhibitors at ISPO MUNICH. For four days, Munich will be a gathering of the international sports business. There has been a significant increase in the number of countries from abroad, making the fair more international than ever. 89% of exhibitors are from abroad.

Where are you seeing growth in the show?
We look forward to welcoming new companies and brands in all exhibition sectors—companies such as Samsung, Casio and even Triumph, just to name a few. The Outdoor sector has seen exceptional growth with 40 new exhibitors.

What are the new initiatives that have been undertaken at the show this year
There are plenty of new highlights at the show. One is in the Action Sports hall B6. For the first time, we’ll present a extremely modern exhibition concept – ISPO POLYGON.

Please briefly outline the new Polygon set up to our retail readers.
In line with the motto “back to the roots”, a greater focus will be placed on products and innovations. From small brands through to global market players – at ISPO MUNICH 2017, there will be a stand to suit everybody. The concept includes manufacturers of snowboards and skateboards, as well as urban and street sports products and sneakers. This brand mix reflects real market conditions and ensures exciting synergy effects. Manufacturers and retailers can get an overview of the market, swap ideas and develop new visions together.

Please tell us about the early evening activities in the Action Sports Halls.
Exchanging ideas and information and inspiring one another: ISPO MUNICH provides the perfect surroundings for doing so. The Action Sports community has the chance to network, relax and enjoy a drink and music from a DJ in the evening next to our new meeting place for bloggers, the ISPO Bloggers Lounge, in the middle of the hall.


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