Utah Governor Releases Video Urging Outdoor Retailer to Return to Salt Lake City
The interstate competition for Outdoor Retailer's next contract is heating up
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Utah is trying hard to get Outdoor Retailer back.
This week, Utah Governor Spencer Cox released a video appealing to the industry’s largest trade show, urging the event to return to Salt Lake City, which it abandoned for Denver in 2017.
The timing is no coincidence. OR’s contract with the Mile High City is set to expire at the end of 2022, and Salt Lake is currently on the short list of cities the event is considering for its next home.
After this summer’s OR in Denver, we interviewed show director Marisa Nicholson, who said there’s “a really good chance” that the show stays in Denver, but that if it doesn’t, it will relocate to Anaheim, Las Vegas, Orlando, or Salt Lake City.
“At the end of the day, this is the industry’s show,” Nicholson told OBJ. “And we’re going to continue to host the show where the industry wants it to be.”
Nicholson said that, ultimately, the decision hinges on numerous considerations. “There’s a ton of factors that go into it,” she said. “Once we know where people want it to be, then we go and work with the cities to make sure we have the right amount of time for move-in, staging the show, move-out, and working with the hotels for room blocks. If there is going to be some big change, we need the time to make sure we can go in there and plan that.”
In August, we polled the industry, asking where show-goers think the event should move next. The results were close, with 39.1 percent saying it should remain in the Mile High City and 34.2 percent saying it should head to Salt Lake. Las Vegas drew 22.6 percent of the vote, with just 2.6 percent going to Orlando and 1.5 percent to Anaheim.
Show directors said they will announce the event’s new home before the end of the year.