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Thursday 24th September 2015

Motorcycle Industry Association in United States buys Orlando, Florida based American International Motorcycle Expo

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The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) in the United States has announced that it has acquired the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo - Orlando, Florida, October 15th - 18th) from founder Marketplace Events (MPE).

Larry Little, former President of MPE's Motorcycle Group and a prior Chairman of the MIC Board of Directors, said that: "Your industry's trade association and the industry's most important trade show have joined forces to help advance our business environment and allow the motorcycle industry to sustainably expand the riding community across generations."

Aim Expo

As a part of MIC, AIMExpo becomes an extension of the MIC's "mission of preserving, protecting and promoting the motorcycle and powersports industry that we are a part of. We'll be developing incentives for MIC member companies for the 2016 show, which will be announced in early 2016. "For AIMExpo dealer attendees, we'll have a greater opportunity to showcase the value of dealer membership including MIC's continual presence on Capitol Hill where the mission to protect our industry is ongoing."To answer the questions that will arise about the immediate impact of this move on this year's show, the simple answer is - there will be no impact. It is business as usual, with the same AIMExpo team producing the same show with the same high level of customer service that we've already become known for."The show now becomes part of a new department titled 'MIC Events'. The physical move to MIC offices in Irvine, California, will occur following this year's show. All AIMExpo personnel, including V-Twin Director Bob Kay, remain in-post. Next year's show - AIMExpo 2016 - is still scheduled for October and will remain in Orlando.

Group shot

Front Row, left to right - Tom Baugh, CEO Marketplace Events; Tim Buche, President and CEO, MIC; Mark White, CFO Marketplace Events

Back Row, left to right - Larry Little, VP and GM, MIC Events, Erik Pritchard, General Counsel MIC; Jen Dreis, MIC; Mike Webster, SVP MIC Events

The MIC is quoted as saying that "owning our industry's biggest and most popular trade show fits perfectly within MIC's mission. Trade shows intrinsically represent exhibitors (i.e., MIC Member Companies), facilitate communications among exhibitors, and help promote the goods and services offered by exhibitors to {dealers and] the public - all [of which are] normal day-to-day operations for the MIC.

"MIC was able to purchase the Expo without affecting membership dues. MIC's ownership of a platform such as AIMExpo can help advance our business environment and allow the motorcycle industry to sustainably expand the riding community across generations."For some time, the MIC Board of Directors has discussed owning powersports events, but did not proactively pursue the idea. However, when Marketplace Events approached MIC about selling its Motorcycle Group, the Board took action. After extensive discussion and due diligence, the board was unanimous in its decision to move forward with the purchase.

"Larry Little, one of the founders of AIMExpo while a Director on the MIC Board, recused himself from all acquisition discussions and activities. As an MIC employee, Larry is ineligible to serve on the board and has resigned his board position. The open board position will be filled in the upcoming annual board election.

"AIMExpo entered the motorcycle event scene in 2013 and made an immediate impact. Its early success and high level of industry adoption has been unparalleled. The MIC is proud to be associated with AIMExpo, and your industry association stands better equipped than ever to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling.

"This news brings closure to a sequence of events that has not always worked to the benefit of the motorcycle industry, one that actually goes back some 30 years. When Advanstar acquired what eventually became the 'Dealer Expo' that was staged at Cincinnati, then Indianapolis, then finally and for one year only at Chicago in December last year, it had been mooted that the MIC was itself eying launch of its own industry expo.

To head-off competition from the industry's trade association, Advanstar struck a sweatheart deal with the MIC that saw members score discounts, and a percentage of show income going into the trade association's coffers.

When the V-Twin industry was under pressure from impending increases in the regulatory obstacles that motorcycle modification faced ten years ago, especially where aftermarket performance components and engines were concerned, this was an arrangement that backfired on both the MIC and the v-twin industry.

Endeavouring to create a forum for the sector through its then new V-Twin Committee, the MIC fell foul of restrictions that its deal with Advanstar placed on it in terms of being able to stage meetings for the sector at the rival V-Twin Expo at Cincinnati.

Now, however, all is changed. In addition to having severed its ties with 'Dealer Expo', the MIC changed its membership profile three or four years ago to start offering a dealer-membership program.

With it now itself taking ownership of the premier 'mainstream' motorcycle industry trade expo in America, maybe the way will be clear in the future for the MIC to be able to build bridges with the v-twin industry and finally start developing the kind of sector-specific initiatives the custom market found itself so in need of a decade ago.

AIMExpo has already been taking a number of steps to deepen its v-twin industry significance.

Those steps have so far included features such as its "Made-in-America" exhibitor showcase, AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building affiliation for its new Championship of the Americas custom bike contest (the winner will represent the show at the AMD World Championship at INTERMOT in 2016), its new "Garage Party" consumer promotion and its ride-out from the nearby and contemporaneous "Biketoberfest" Rally. At the time of writing no information was available about whether or not MIC's acquisition of AIMExpo will have a bearing on the show's previously announced intentions of developing a series of regional consumer/industry events around the United States in what had been widely interpreted as an attempt to establish a network of shows to rival Advanstar's Progressive Insurance sponsored multi-city International Motorcycle Show series.


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