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Warm Temps Bring Crowds to Sea Otter

Published April 19, 2009

MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN)—Sunny skies and warm temperatures helped this year’s Sea Otter Classic see double-digit attendance increases the first three days of the show.

Sunday was down 5-8 percent, according to Sea Otter president and chief executive officer Frank Yohannan.

“The decrease [was probably] due to the hot weather and fewer amateur categories,” Yohannan said. “Also there was no BMX racing this year.” Temps rose well into the 80s at Laguna Seca on Sunday.

Yohannan said the feedback he’s gotten thus far from exhibitors has been positive, with several selling out product.

“Sponsorship was about the same as last year,” Yohannan said. “But that’s very good given the economy. My hope is Sea Otter will be a positive indicator for all cycling events this year.”

For manufacturers that don’t sell direct to consumers like San Diego’s NiteRider, Sea Otter is an extremely important show to attend.

“We get very few opportunities outside our 24 hour events to actually speak to consumers, and this is one of those times,” said Mike Ely, sales manager for NiteRider. “Interbike is wonderful, but that’s dealers and that sort—there’s not a consumer day. You get the opportunity to talk to consumers here. Sometimes you get completely different feedback than you get from your dealers. It’s a nice line of direct communication.”

It probably isn’t a fluke that so many attendees gathered at Sea Otter to check out new product and race. While bikes, accessories, components and the like aren’t probably selling as well as they did perhaps three years ago; manufacturers are weathering the storm much better than their counterparts in other sports industries.

“For us, bike is kind of carrying us right now, followed by outdoor,” said Shannon Haslam, marketing director for Tifosi Optics. "That [outdoor] market is slow to buy, but once they get up and running they’re good. And golf, I think everybody is just scared because rounds are down, and it’s cold so people aren’t going out. Bike is carrying us right now and we’re okay with that.

“Our pricepoint is good. It falls right in line with what people are looking for right now: more value for the money kind of the deal. And the product keeps getting better and better every year,” she added.

-PHOTO by Nicole Formosa: Jerott King with Ride SFO appeals to passersby to enter a raffle to win a Nemesis Project dirt frame. Proceeds from the drawing benefit the San Francisco Bike Park.

For more coverage of the Sea Otter Classic, be sure to read the May 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. For blog coverage, click on link.

—Jason Norman

Topics associated with this article: Consumer Expos and Rides, Sea Otter Classic

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