Chicago Boat Shows Amalgamate

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced it is combining the Chicago Boat, Sports and RV Show with Strictly Sail Chicago to create the Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show. The newly combined event is set to take place from January 14 to 18, 2015 inclusive.

The Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show will maintain its mid-January dates and as a result of the merger, is expected to grow 30 percent in its first year in the new South Hall location at McCormick Place (previously held in the North Hall). The new South Hall location features 840,000 square feet of exhibit space all on one level and can accommodate larger power and sailboats.

"Joining Chicagoland's two winter boat shows creates a world of opportunity for all exhibitors, driving customers to one premier destination for boating, sailing and the outdoors,' noted Ben Wold, Executive Vice President, NMMA. "With a combined attendee base exceeding 50,000 people from throughout the Midwest, the new Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show will deliver more buyers, more opportunities to reach new audiences, and more value for everyone involved.'

NMMA says the combination of two shows is a result of "market demand for a one-stop shop for all things boating and outdoors' and support from the boating, RV and sailing industries.
"We're excited NMMA has decided to combine Chicago's two winter boat shows – a move we believe will benefit both the power and sailing industries,' said Dennis Radcliff, Regional Sales Manager, Monterey Boats. "The shift to McCormick Place's South Hall is a great opportunity for exhibitors to create an even better selling environment and experience for attendees, which will ultimately produce a bigger, more successful show.'

"The new location of the show is what the RV industry needed to reach new audiences and better cater to our clients,' echoed Tom Podlin, Sales Manager, Rick's RV. "The show has been a longstanding tradition for boaters, RV'ers and outdoorsmen, and we're hopeful the new Progressive Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show will ignite interest from new customers.'
The show will feature three distinct areas – powerboats, RVs, and Strictly Sail Chicago. Sail-specific booths will be located within the sail section, while marine, travel, and outdoor gear will occupy a central location on the show floor. Plans also include enhanced attractions and a premier lineup of seminars covering all aspects of boating and the outdoors, including the educational offerings sailors are accustomed to at Strictly Sail Chicago.
“We applaud the NMMA for making this bold move,' said Stanton Murray, President, Sail America. "After discussions with our members and directors, Sail America supports the combining of these shows. We recognize the importance of preserving the legacy of Strictly Sail Chicago and its evolution within a multi-show venue. The new format will ultimately expose sailing to a greater audience. We look forward to our ongoing relationship with NMMA finding ways to promote the health and growth of sailing.'

Chicago is a hub for the recreational boating industry, providing easy access to waterways and inland lakes throughout the Midwest. Chicagoland is home to more than 150,000 boats, and 5,000 slips in nine marinas border the city's lakefront.
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