SEMA Acquires IMIS, To Consolidate with PRI

In a deal that brings the auto racing industry’s two largest tradeshows together, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has finalized an agreement to acquire the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS).

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, were not disclosed.

Starting in 2013, SEMA will consolidate IMIS with its Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show, purchased earlier this year along with accompanying print product PRI Magazine. The PRI Trade Show had been held in Indianapolis until it relocated to Orlando in 2004.

The new version of the show will retain the PRI name and management, but will assume the recently renovated venue (Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis) and dates (Dec. 12-14) of IMIS.

Both IMIS (Indianapolis, Dec. 6-8) and PRI (Orlando, Nov. 29-Dec. 1) will continue as scheduled in 2012.

“This really is a huge win for both our industry and for the association,” says Chris Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA. “We had two nearly identical shows, with the same purpose, the same business target, being conducted five days apart.”

Along with eliminating the inefficiencies associated with two competing shows, getting back into the Indianapolis market, a haven for American auto racing, was another reason for the move. IMIS had also signed a “lifetime” agreement with the Indianapolis CVA in 2010.

“PRI had great history growing the show in Indianapolis,” Kersting says. “Indy is a great racing center for the country so it made all the sense to us to consolidate these shows and take them back to a location that has been attractive to the racing industry and proved a great success.”

PRI attracted 40,000 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors to its 2011 tradeshow, while IMIS, launched in 2009, expects about 25,000 attendees and 530 exhibitors in 2012.

Together, the new incarnation of PRI is expected to bring about 3,000 booths and around 40,000 attendees in 2013. Size had not yet been determined, although Kersting says: “With the Indiana Convention Center in its current configuration, there will be a nice opportunity for the show to grow.”

Kersting also noted that staffing decisions would be made after the 2012 shows have taken place.

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Posted by Michael Rondon

Michael Rondon is a senior editor for Expo. Reach him @Mike_Rondon or View all articles by Michael Rondon →