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Just two years after Snowsports Industries America (SIA) acquired the consumer trade event Snowbound Festival from BEWI Productions, the group has again sold the show to an outside partner for an undisclosed amount. In an announcement this morning, SIA confirmed the sale of Snowbound to U.K.-based Raccoon Events, which will rebrand the event as Snowbound Expo.
SIA will remain closely involved in production of the show, staging this year from November 18 to 20 in Boston. SIA President Nick Sargent, speaking to OBJ this week, said in-person consumer engagement is still a critical component of SIA’s advocacy strategy.
“When we bought the show two years ago, we were looking to develop direct connections with consumers,” Sargent said. “It gave us the ability to understand consumers and create new data products. Consumer engagement was and is a critical component for us at SIA.”
From a business perspective, however, Sargent said it made sense to seek out a partner to operate the show, which was delayed twice during the pandemic after SIA’s initial acquisition. Raccoon, which operates nearly a dozen other consumer events around the world—including the The Run Show USA and The National Cycling Show—was an obvious choice.
“We didn’t want to do this with a partner who didn’t align with our priorities,” Sargent said. “As soon as we met [the Raccoon team], we knew they represented the type of partner we wanted to work with. They have a depth of experience bringing communities together.”
Mike Seaman, Raccoon’s CEO, told OBJ that in coming years the company will launch multiple Snowbound shows across the U.S., and may eventually expand them internationally. The shows won’t change for consumers, he stressed, though Raccoon does intend to bring a “more exciting, start-of-the-season feel” to them. That strategy, he hopes, will open Snowbound to a wider audience than it has enjoyed in the past.
“We want [Snowbound] to be a welcoming home for people who have previously attended, but we also want to open it up for newcomers,” Seaman said.
Raccoon will focus on three goals in taking over event, Seaman said: creating a productive meeting point for brands and consumers, increasing the show’s diversity and inclusivity efforts, and making Snowbound as environmentally sustainable as possible. That last directive aligns with Raccoon’s broader goal of moving its entire organization to net-zero carbon status by 2025.
Sargent and Seaman both expressed confidence that the show’s new direction will only improve the experience for consumers and exhibitors.
“The beauty of Raccoon is that they align with my vision of keeping the show as premium as possible,” Sargent said. “We’re moving away from the pipe and drape to create a retail experience that’s [as premium as] the product at retail. This is not a discount product show. It’s not a clearance sale.”
Regarding SIA’s long-term position, Sargent was clear about his plans to remain closely involved with the event. “We’re not going anywhere,” he said. “We’re not walking away.”