They’re Back! Both Sports Inc. and NBS Planning In-Person Shows in June
After a year of pandemic-mandated virtual gatherings, the two major team sports buying groups plan to return to in-person shows in June in a welcome sign that the industry is returning to a sense of post-COVID normalcy. Sports Inc. will hold a physical show June 10-12 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX, while Nation’s Best Sports (NBS) is set for a live show June 24-26 in Oklahoma City, OK.
Travis Elam, director of the Team Sports Division at Sports Inc., tells Team Insight that while attendance figures are still hard to predict since registration just opened last week, a survey of members and vendors in February indicated that about 85 percent of members and a little higher percentage of vendors planned to attend. “In the month since the surveys, I think more people have become comfortable with the idea of an in-person show,” he adds.
“The convention center has done a good job putting plans and protocols in place and we are going to be overly cautious as it relates to spacing, sanitizing, etc.,” Elam says. “The show hall will be spread out to adhere to distancing protocols, so it’s possible we will have to cap exhibitor attendance. But we are going to do what we have to do to comfortably accommodate any members and their staff who want to attend.”
Kendall Whitley, VP–athletics and retail at NBS, provides a similar optimistic outlook for its first in-person show in more than a year.
“From all of my conversations with members and vendors alike, all are looking forward to having a show again and get back to some sense of normalcy,” Whitley says. “We will absolutely work hard to provide a safe environment along with following all local executive orders and guidelines for our Summer Market.
“We understand and respect if any of our NBS members or vendors aren’t comfortable attending, but so far feedback has been very positive,” he adds. “What I do want to add is that myself and the entire NBS family are honored to host this event for our members knowing the struggles, dedication and pure persistence to get through the most challenging year ever.”