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New owner of The Big One reports ‘phenomenal feedback’

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Anglers queue up to enter the first The Big One show of the year in Farnborough, Hampshire.
↑ New owner of the Big One, Bauer Media, says it worked really hard on the entertainment side of the show, resulting in big crowds for the demonstrations.
↑ SERT/Garbolino UK General Manager, Darren Cox. said that The Big One was 'refreshed' in terms of visitors, having previously been dominated by carp.

Bauer Media, the owner of The Big One show that took place in the UK at last weekend, has reported ‘phenomenal feedback’ from the event.

The German-based publisher acquired the UK’s biggest consumer show from Vince Davies early last year, but had little time to influence it in 2018.

So this year was the first chance for the company, which interacts with an estimated 600,000 fishermen through its magazines, websites and social media activities, to put its mark on a show that has attracted around 20,000 consumers in the past.

“It was awesome and demonstrated the power of the Bauer brands – both print and digital – to drive traffic to the show,” said Bauer’s Editor-in-Chief, Steve Fitzpatrick.

“Retailers were stunned by the volume of customers. The positivity of the feedback during and after the show has been phenomenal.

“Some stand holders were going back to headquarters during the weekend to get more stock. One dealer ran out of poles by midday on the Saturday and told me he sold more than in the two previous Big One shows combined. One of the bait companies sold 6,000 kilos of bait.

“There were more new products launched for the first time than I have ever seen at a UK fishing show. Brands have been holding stuff back so they could launch it at Farnborough. The Big One has become the first place to see and buy new products.

“We worked really hard on the visitor experience element of the show, so the days were not just about buying and selling. The theatres were packed out, with serious numbers of people staying on even for the late afternoon talks. I’ve never seen so many people attend demos and seminars at a fishing show. The new lure section also proved hugely popular.

“The shop and drop system we introduced this year worked really well. Visitors were able to collect their purchases at the end of the event and then take a buggy back to the car park.

“There is still work to be done and we believe we can make it even better.

“There were complaints about traffic on the approach to the venue, but unfortunately that was the one thing beyond our control.”

Bauer is now preparing the second The Big One event at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, on April 13thj and 14th, where expectations are understandably lower. “Farnborough has been going 25 years, so we know we won’t bring in the same kind of crowds,” said Fitzpatrick. “But we are replicating the proven Farnborough format and we are confident the show will grow after people have seen year one.”

Simon Henton, Senior Sales Manager at Zebco Europe, was at the show with the Browning and Quantum brands. “I haven’t heard any attendance figures, but it was certainly as busy as previous years,” he said. “Given Bauer’s strong media presence, anything less than a significant increase in attendance would be surprising.

“They worked hard at the entertainment side of the show. The presentations and seminars were better organised than in the past.

“It was a very good show for us. The fact that Fox and Daiwa were not there meant more traffic to our stand. We launched our new £4,000 Sphere Zero-G PT+ pole and it proved very popular.

“Stoneleigh will be a bigger challenge. I don’t think it is far enough north to pull in the same kind of numbers and, timing wise, it is too close to the Farnborough event.”

Unlike many exhibitors, Zebco wasn’t selling product at the show. “We didn’t sell because we want people to go home and buy products from their local retailers,” explained Henton.

“We believe traditional retailers are vital to our future and our aim was to create a demand at the show that retailers will benefit from.”

French brand SERT was at the show with its Garbolino match and Sakura lure brands. “We felt it was certainly refreshed in terms of visitors. I feel that Bauer’s media machine helped find a slightly different audience to recent years,” said SERT/Garbolino UK General Manager Darren Cox.

“The show has been dominated by carp anglers for several years, but this time there were definitely more match and pleasure fishermen, which is exactly what we have been asking for. We were more than happy with the audience and delighted with the response to our recently launched UK pole series and mid to high-end match and feeder rods.

“The interest in Sakura also made it evident that there were a lot of lure anglers there. From what I hear, the carp brands were also kept very busy.

“The show was busy all day Saturday and held up well until early Sunday afternoon. The only complaints we heard were that anglers were disappointed that some big match brands were missing. Hopefully this will change next year. Overall a great show which bucked the downward trend in match fishing.”

John Loftus attended the show in his role as the new CEO of the Angling Trades Association (ATA). “My impression was that it was a great deal better than last year and stand holders I spoke to said the same thing,” he said.

“The aisles were wider and less cluttered. The feel was more upmarket and was less like a car boot sale. Saturday morning was very busy and remained so until mid afternoon.

“From an ATA point of view, I made a lot of presentations and am confident they will have a positive impact on membership.”

 

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