In what may well be a harbinger of things to come for early 2021—if not for the entire year with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on large-group events—the National Marine Manufacturers Association announced today that it will not produce the Miami International Boat Show this year. The trade group announced the decision late this afternoon on the eve of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which opens tomorrow and is owned by another event-production outfit.
Headquartered at Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key for the past four years, the 2021 Miami International Boat Show has been cancelled. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
In addition to the Miami event, which was scheduled for early February and would have celebrated its fifth year at Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key, the NMMA announced the cancellation of all other winter Progressive Insurance-sponsored shows including those in Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York and Tennessee.
“These decisions are in the best interest of our consumers, staff members and industry, and are the result of months-long conversations with exhibitors, health officials, venue operators and other stakeholders on producing safe, successful,and high-quality consumer experiences,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, the president of the NMMA, which is based in Chicago. “We understand the vital role boat shows play in showcasing new products and generating sales for the recreational boating industry, and we plan to resume our full show schedule starting in September 2021.
News of the cancellation has been met so far with a mix or relief and frustration on the part of high-performance marine industry players. With the ongoing uncertainly for large-group gatherings in 2021, Cigarette Racing Team, for example, which typically goes over the top with its Miami show exhibits, already had a more-modest display for the event in the works. But not all exhibitors expected the abrupt early cancellation.
“We are very surprised given the Fort Lauderdale boat show is happening this week,” said Randy Scism, the owner of high-performance catamaran and center console builder MTI, which is based in Wentzville, Mo. ‘We have discussed it with our team and we still plan to have demos and boats on display at Haulover Marine Center that week for everyone who was planning on coming down and is interested in an MTI. The show was where we planned to unveil our MTI-V 50 center console and we still plan to do so—just at Haulover.”
Said John Cosker, the owner of Mystic Powerboats in DeLand, Fla., “We were planning on going to Miami, though we’re not doing Fort Lauderdale. But we have had an incredible year and we have been rethinking our show strategy moving forward. I think we are going to take a least some of the money we would have used for the show and use it for Mystic owner events next year.”
Two NMMA boats shows—Atlantic City, N.J. (February 24-28) and the Northwest Boat Show (March 25-25) in Minneapolis—are proceeding as schedule according to the release. Plus, the NMMA reportedly is working with the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center to obtain dates later in the first quarter or early in the second quarter for the Progressive Insurance New England Boat Show.
“Our board doubled our core funding to ensure we’ll be good to go and come out stronger in fiscal year 2022,” said Kim Koditek, the NMMA’s senior brand content manager. “So we’re good to go. It’s going to be an interesting year with fewer shows, but we’re going to offer online marketplaces instead.”