Messe München says that its first all-digital ISPO Munich Online trade show was a “success” shared with the industry, thanks to its commitment to the world’s leading event in the sporting goods sector. We’ll soon ask our readers for some comments. Anyhow, the show’s virtual Expo Area, which featured 545 exhibitors, which was more than expected. Together with its complementary program of 150 conferences and workshops, the event clocked in a total of 31,575 trade visitors from 110 countries.

After Germany, the biggest rates of participation came, in order, from Italy, the U.K., Austria, Japan and China. In addition, for the first time, “public streams” of events and videos held in the evening were logged into by some 22,000 people. All publicly broadcast contents, including the public streams and the ISPO Award presentations, can be accessed via YouTube.

ISPO Munich Online ran from Feb. 1 through Feb. 5. All conference presentations and workshops will gradyally be made available online to holders of conference tickets. The digital ”brandrooms” will remain open until March 26, provided the visitor is accredited.

As previously reported, ISPO Beijing had to be cancelled because of local coronavirus-related restrictions. The next event on the ISPO platform will be ISPO Shanghai on July 2-4. If everything goes well, it will be followed on July 6-8 by a hybrid offline and online version of OutDoor by ISPO in Munich, which is being described as a “Global Summit Edition.” It will include standardized physical displays and a broad conference program. A full back-up plan is in place if the Covid-19 situation gets worse.

…but the organizer lost a lot of money last year

Meanwhile, Messe München reports that its turnover fell last year to €94 million, 70 percent below its target, as the company had to cancel more than 20 scheduled events. They were partially replaced by 14 virtual events. To help compensate for the losses, the company reacted with a cut of 30 percent in material costs and the layoff of around 170 employees. This came after Messe München had become the fifth-largest organizer of trade shows in the world.

Klaus Dittrich, chairman and CEO of the company, said that the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated its pioneering efforts in digitalization. “Our business model centers on connecting people. We no longer see ourselves only as lessors of hall space, but as managers of platforms – in physical form at a trade fair or in digital form, 365 days a year,” he said, likening the process to the evolution of the smartphone into a tool to take pictures, listen to music, watch TV, navigate the internet, play games and monitor your health.