After speculating on the potential impact of the coronavirus on the industry, we received a communication from Shimano that put just how seriously some are taking this virus globally.
Here’s the announcement:
“The Fred Hall Long Beach Show, the Houston Fishing Show and Bassmaster Classic Expo are all times to celebrate and connect with the fishing community that we love. We share new products, best practices and most importantly, face time with our fans, retailers and passionate anglers from around the world.
After significant deliberation, Shimano has decided to not attend these shows due to escalating concerns about the Coronavirus and any potential post-show quarantine for our team. The health and wellness of our employees and continuance of our business are our top priorities in this continually developing situation. “
With that announcement, a big hole opened in the Bassmaster Classic Expo show floor in Birmingham, the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach and the expo in Houston. That’s because Shimano’s pullout means Shimano companies Jackall, PowerPro, and G Loomis will all be absent.
The decision is one no company will make lightly, and Shimano’s announcement leaves little doubt other companies are weighing go/no-go options as the coronavirus continues to spread.
Checking around the industry, there aren’t many who are willing to talk for attribution about their plans for the rest of the year. But the gist of the conversations we have had point to the conclusion that it won’t take much for companies to simply ban any unnecessary travel until further notice.
There have already been announcements in the past 24 hours concerning other, smaller, shows that will be postponed or cancelled entirely. Both the Natural Products Expo West and the North American Handmade Bicycle Show have made the announcement they’re not being held this week. Between the two shows, that’s nearly 100,000 potential visitors and attendees lost to Anaheim, California (Natural Products West) and Dallas, Texas (Bicycle Show). In announcements both groups say their intent is to hold their shows later in the year, although both groups have yet to offer alternative dates.
The 50th Edition of the Bassmaster Classic is set to get underway tomorrow with Media Day, and Birmingham has a reputation for turning out the crowds.
On a personal note, the past two days have put the things we routinely consider “important” into perspective. Living just outside Nashville, we spent a tense evening Monday as we watched local TV track what they called “potentially deadly” storms across the region. Waking up Tuesday morning, we realized they weren’t crying wolf to help build ratings. A line of severe weather spawned tornadoes that savaged middle Tennessee, killing twenty-two and injuring nearly two hundred others.
This kind of destruction doesn’t always have an impact on you when you see it on television. When the building is across the alley from your daughter’s home, however, it causes more than a little consternation. Photo with permission.
It was considerably more disconcerting for us as we watched the local reporters and realized our eldest daughter’s home was in the heart of the East Nashville area that got the brunt of the EF-2 tornado.
Her home was spared- but only just. The photo you see is the restaurant that’s directly behind her home. Her only damage was a cracked window, but only a few yards away, the buildings are gone.
My point’s simple: there are no guarantees about the future. So cherish today - and the people in your life right now. As The Eagles sang “In a New York minute, everything can change…”
We’ll keep you posted.