MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN)—Sea Otter is seeing an increase in exhibitor registration, as well as an increase in athlete sign-ups.
According to Frank Yohannan, Sea Otter Classic president and chief executive officer, companies carefully analyzing their events and marketing initiatives are deciding that the Sea Otter Classic is one event they can’t afford to miss.
"Companies are working hard to really get every last penny's worth of every dollar they spend right now, and Sea Otter gives them a lot of bang for their buck," Yohannan said. "By the same token, it is a great value for athletes watching their budgets. With its various events, family activities, the festival and expo, Sea Otter is much more than just a race."
Nearly 300 exhibitors sign up each year for booth space at what is widely accepted as the most important Spring consumer tradeshow for cyclists in North America. With over 50,000 athletes and spectators walking through the expo, it is a perfect opportunity to show new products, interact directly with consumers, offer samples, sell closeout items, and build brand awareness.
"It's the best way for us to get a ton of face time with cyclists from all over the country," said Nicholas Woodman, founder and president of GoPro, maker of wearable digital cameras for sports. "Sea Otter is the most core consumer bike festival in the country. It's where our customers come to celebrate their love of biking and share their passions with each other."
Bicycle component-maker SRAM has been a major sponsor of Sea Otter for so long that its signature letters on the hill above the venue are as familiar to fans as the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Michael Zellmann, U.S. road PR and media manager for SRAM, says that Sea Otter provides the ultimate backdrop for its biggest product launches every year.
"The Sea Otter Classic is a trade show wrapped in a race that gets global media attention," Zellmann said. "When we introduced our original two road groups in 2006, Force and Rival, we hosted more than 30 global media, our biggest product launch to date. In 2008 we re-launched SRAM Rival and had more than 30 editors on hand, which is simply outstanding. For 2009 it will be no different. We will launch the latest Road and MTB products to a global media contingent, including most of the world’s top cycling publications and Web sites."
Sea Otter has also picked up a variety of new sponsors this year, showing that even in the current economic climate, companies are choosing to deepen their experience at a limited number of significant events. And where better to show your commitment to the cycling world, than at "one of the best events of the year," as stated by Ty Kady, U.S. Cup Series marketing director for new sponsor Sho-Air, one of Sea Otter’s new sponsors.
Pinkbike.com, an online mountain bike community, will be at Sea Otter for their fifth year as part of the expo, and their first year as sponsor. "There is simply no other race in North America with a larger audience," said Karl Burkat, marketing and sales manager. "The venue brings together all facets of cycling like no other during the year."
A few years ago, after many requests from fans and exhibitors alike, Sea Otter added a Product Demo Area to the list of ways to interact with this cycling-centric audience of consumers, athletes and spectators. Over 25 exhibitors will set up shop where the public—athletes of all levels, cycling enthusiasts just toying with the idea of buying a new bike, and newbies to the sport who are thinking of buying a bike and all that goes with it—can try out products. Last year over 2000 people came in and tested products on roads designated for demo use, and bumps and jumps in the MTB Ride Zone.
For the next three years, the Bicycle Leadership Conference, the premier forum for decision-makers and change-makers of the cycling world, will meet in conjunction with the Sea Otter Classic. This makes it all the more economical and beneficial for company representatives to join this important group of industry leaders.
"The combination of the world's best consumer cycling festival preceeded by the only cycling industry leadership conference eases budgetary concerns for many companies," said Lance Camisasca, BLC conference director. "For the price of one airline ticket and lodging arrangement leaders of the bike industry can continue to attend two must-attend events."