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Sea Otter attendance up from 2022

Published May 9, 2023

MONTEREY, Calif. (BRAIN) — Organizers of the Life Time Sea Otter Classic say total attendance at this year's show was 76,500, up from 71,000 last year and with a significant increase in the number of corporate brands and exhibitors at the event's expo.

For the first time, this year's event included an "Industry Day," Wednesday, April 20, which offered dealers and associated companies some incentives to attend, including free festival access for four days for retailers.

About 400 people took advantage of that offer and exhibiting companies remarked on the better-than-usual foot traffic at the expo on Wednesday.

The event reported that about 5,700 athletes registered, down from about 6,400 last year. Registered media was about even with last year at 335 while the number of brands represented at the expo was 1,050, up from 750 last year.

There were 528 registered exhibitors and event CEO Frank Yohannan told BRAIN that expo revenue was up about 30% this year over 2022. The revenue figure takes into account both the number of exhibitors and the size of their displays.

Recent Sea Otter Classic attendance:
* 2023: 76,500
* 2022: 71,000
* 2021: 61,500
* 2020: not held
* 2019: 74,000
* 2018: 70,000

Yohannan also told BRAIN that Sea Otter had no intentions of becoming an Interbike, the annual industry show not held since 2018. But considering the number of product launches at Laguna Seca this year, many were asking if Sea Otter was fulfilling a trade show role, albeit in an outdoor, spring, consumers-allowed context.

"This show captures what's going on in the industry," said Kevin Perry, a buyer for the 12-store California chain, Sports Basement.

"It's a chance to catch up with brands; see what's trending and get a fix on how the pandemic has affected us — we're still in a pandemic hangover," said Perry, who is a buyer for the chain's accessory brands. Inventory issues, he said, remain a problem.

Yohannan dubbed Industry Day a "hit." Some exhibiting vendors took advantage of the expo, setting up meetings with dealers, distributors and others at private parties. It kept the venue's catering service busy supplying them enough food and beer.

"Vendors are here; they have a showroom, and they're set up. We no longer have an Interbike so Sea Otter is it," Yohannan said. "Given its setting outdoors, people riding bikes, its location in Monterey, California — what's wrong with that picture?" Yohannan asked.

Mr. Otter was up for selfies at the show.
Topics associated with this article: Sea Otter Classic

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