EDspaces Sold to Leading Expositions Company


by Tina Manzer

EDmarket will remain the sponsor and program planner

On December 18, EDmarket members voted unanimously in favor of a plan to sell its annual EDspaces event to Emerald Holding, a tradeshow company that produces more a than 140 event and market platforms. They range from the Campus Safety Conference to the International Fastener Expo.

The sale, which was finalized on December 21, was necessary to keep the association solvent, wrote outgoing EDmarket Board Chair Angela Nelson in a letter to members. Here is how she explained the need for the transaction.

For the past 10 years, EDmarket has undertaken a significant rebranding and turnaround primarily driven by the success of the EDspaces event. With this event being our primary source of revenue, the cancellation of our in-person meeting in Charlotte and pivot to a digital conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic has left us without the financial resources to continue operating under the current model.

The proposed new agreement [with Emerald] states that EDmarket will remain the primary sponsor of EDspaces and still be involved in the development of the education conference during the event. EDmarket will receive a significant payment at closing allowing continued operations, and establishes a 20-year sponsorship agreement with Emerald resulting in a future revenue stream for EDmarket based on the top-line revenue for the event.

As part of the agreement, EDmarket will remain committed to EDspaces by continuing to sponsor and support the event for years to come. Through our alliance with Emerald, with its added resources and tradeshow creativity, we look forward to growing EDspaces and making it an even better investment for the exhibitors, buyers and our industry members.

Angela also provided a list of the ways EDmarket would benefit from the sale. She said it will –
• Replenish association reserves ensuring EDmarket remains an important industry resource.
• Protect significant EDspaces 2020 Exhibitor Deposits deferred to 2021.
• Ensure EDspaces will continue to be the premier event for the education facilities market.
• Guarantee EDmarket remains the primary sponsor of EDspaces and the education thought leader for the event.
• Provide member discounts for exhibit space and registration.
• Generate an ongoing revenue stream for EDmarket without the liability or cost structure of managing the event.
• Provide EDmarket the capital to reinvent the association to better serve a changing market.

“Moving forward, EDmarket will be able to continue its 105-year history as a key resource and connector to the education marketplace,” says Jim McGarry, EDmarket president & CEO. He and the EDmarket team will be working closely with Emerald’s EDspaces team for a smooth transition. Joe Tucker, Loraine Coleman and Scott Beyer have joined Emerald and will remain key resources for exhibitor success and continuity. “The remaining EDmarket staff members will support the Board of Directors’ refocusing efforts to improve membership value and enhance growth and opportunity for the education market,” McGarry adds.

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

A belief in “The show must go on”

With offices in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Ohio, Emerald Holding Inc. (NYSE:EEX), “builds dynamic, market-driven business-to-business platforms that integrate live events with a broad array of industry insights, digital tools, and data-focused solutions to create uniquely rich experiences,” according to investor.emeraldx.com. “As true partners, we strive to build our customers’ businesses by creating opportunities that inspire, amaze, and deliver breakthrough results. Our teams are creators and connectors who are thoroughly immersed in the industries we serve and committed to supporting the communities in which we operate.”

Evidence of that commitment appeared in November when Emerald held its annual International Gift Expo of the Smokies live at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was considered an exposition industry milestone given market conditions at the time, including the significant restrictions on domestic and international travel.

“The number of exhibiting companies declined 60 percent, but buyer attendance was down only 30 percent to create a 75-percent boost year-over-year in the overall attendee-to-exhibitor ratio, from seven attendees per exhibitor to 12 attendees per exhibitor,” reported Emerald in a press release. “As a result, sentiment scores from exhibiting customers improved across all measures, and confirmed the demand from the gift and souvenir community to connect face-to-face to source new products, replenish inventories, and prepare for the important upcoming holiday season.”

“Successfully holding the International Gift Expo of the Smokies (IGES) this year is a testament to our support of our communities, and a positive first step forward for our industry as a whole,” noted Lori Silva, EVP of Emerald’s Retail Group. “We are extremely proud of the IGES team and our amazing partners for implementing a stringent health and safety plan that delivered a strong, productive show.”

Buyer Don Henk, retail operations manager at Massanutten Resort in Virgina, said, “Given the uncertainty we have all been facing much of this year, attending the IGES show in November was critical to the future success of our business. It helped maximize the sales and profitability of all our shops by allowing us to connect with our key vendors. There is nothing like seeing new items, designs, and colors in person; not to mention talking with new vendors to see what they have to offer. It goes well beyond just viewing products in a catalog.”

Examples of the safety measures implemented at IGES included temperature screening, the required use of face masks at all times, registration queue lines to ensure 6-foot social distancing, one-way entrances/exits, transparent shields at all concession stands, and daily disinfection of all seating, restrooms, and frequently touched public areas.

In January, those safety measures were implemented again at the live Surf Expo at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

The next EDspaces is scheduled for November 3 through 5 in Pittsburgh.

Please note the new address of the Education Market Association: 9841 Washington Blvd. Suite 200-1041, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878.

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