As we reported more than once last year, the 2021 edition of world’s largest trade show will also be the first to go entirely digital. The reason is, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions on travel and gatherings.

ISPO Munich Online, as the event is being called, remains scheduled for Feb. 1-5 and will operate under the hopeful motto “Sport is stronger.” If all goes according to plan, the talk of the show will be health, sustainability and creativity.

More than 500 international companies have signed on to exhibit in the virtual Expo Area. Among the biggest to display their new products and make their pitches through their respective “brandrooms” will be Adidas Terrex, Gore-Tex, Icebreaker, Mammut, MyClimate and Unzer. These brandrooms will serve to show new products and to establish communications between the companies and the show’s attendees.

At the same tile, ISPO will be hosting a nlarge umber of live events within the overall event – with about 80 presentations and panel discussions and more than 100 workshops and masterclasses. Many will be addressing retailers with such topics as “How does digitalization help to make retail fit for the future?” or “What is industry doing to achieve the UN’s Social Development Goals (SDGs)?” or “What socio-political relevance do sports offerings have in the pandemic?” Industry representatives, members of the German government and university researchers will be making the presentations. Most of them will be held in English, but some programs will be in German.

In another first, this year’s ISPO Munich will offer digital access to end consumers, with public streams every evening. These will include screenings of films from the European Outdoor Film Tour and the Freeride Film Festival, workouts with Blackroll, Peloton and Technogym, and a “Sustainability & Safety Talk” with ABS and PYUA.

In addition, to “promote the feeling of an on-site industry meeting place” and spur networking, ISPO and Messe München are introducing a “digital invitation tool” through which exhibitors can supply customers and partners with “unlimited free tickets to the Expo Area.” As Jeanette Friedrich, global ISPO group director, explains, this will enable exhibitors to “invite their most important contacts in a straightforward manner. Thus, we ensure that international traders and stakeholders will visit the virtual format.”