by Matt Weik
I wrote back and forth with my good friend and co-author Kevin Gretch and he shared some interesting information that made me laugh. At the time of writing this article, the Arnold Classic has yet to announce whether refunds will be given to those who purchased stands for the event. Sure, the dealers were offered a 5% discount on their union services by the Arnold Classic organizers, but in the end that's nothing. Well, it looks like the Boston Pro is trying to entice Arnold Classic vendors to "come down" (keyword: Price Is Right music) and set up a shop for FREE at their event on June 20, 2020.
The news came on March 5, 2020 when David Whitaker announced that he wanted to help the vendors by providing a free booth on the Boston Pro because they had inconvenience with the Arnold Classic at the Arnold Classic and the organizers the state about the coronavirus concern.
No thank you?
Here's the bottom line: I have to give it to David Whitaker because he even thought about providing free stands at the Boston Pro event. I mean, that will eventually pull money out of his pocket.
Will some people take the opportunity to have a free stand at the fair and try products, shake hands, answer questions, show faces and maybe even sell some products? I'm sure. Especially the smaller companies that could really benefit from free space on the Boston Pro. Boston is a great city so I can see it attracts some brands to do the trek and support David's show.
The event (according to the press release) will have "24 paid sponsorships, $ 300,000 in prize money and six guaranteed spots for the September Olympics competition". Overall, David is extremely generous and I hope that people will support him and accept his offer. The bullet hole of the Arnold Classic promoters, who have not even put a plaster on the open wound that was still left, has still not been cleared.
Let us illustrate this with an example. We only say that one brand bought a large stand and the stand alone cost $ 100,000. No offense, but a vacant booth at a Boston Pro Show that no one has heard of is hardly a comparable exchange. In addition, the Boston Pro has nothing to do with the Arnold Classic, so David almost gives the Arnold Classic organizers a free pass for the whole controversy.
In my opinion, many brands will thank David for offering a free booth on the Boston Pro, but at the end of the day these brands / vendors will still be looking at the Arnold Classic promoters for a full refund.
When you compare the price of a stand at the Arnold Classic to the price of the Boston Pro, it's like trying to get a room in the Palms Empathy Suite in Las Vegas compared to a room in the Best Western Plus Hotel across the street to rent. One costs $ 100,000 a night and the other is well below $ 100 a night. There is no comparison between what you get from both. The Best Western is damn boring, while the Palms Empathy Suite gives you the status of a 9,000-square-meter, two-story suite that overlooks the Vegas Strip. Do you understand the point
The exposure you get with the Arnold Classic compared to what you would get with the Boston Pro (no insult, David) is day and night. 250,000 people walk through the Columbus exhibition hall, compared to probably less than 1,000 in the Boston Pro if I guess. I have never heard of Boston Pro before.
How would I fix this mess?
To be honest, nobody knows how long this corona virus will hang around. The fact that events and even the 2020 Olympics are affected so far out is a good sign that people aren't interested in changing things and don't want to bother everyone involved (fans, athletes, etc.) by waiting until the last minute. Why did things with the Arnold Classic wait until the last minute? Your guess is as good as mine.
The simple solution here would be to either fully reimburse all suppliers of the stand space (freight, union services, etc. should be the responsibility of the provider) or to let them know that 2021 is already paid for with the money they invested in 2020.
Does this prevent future setbacks regarding the Arnold Classic? Absolutely not. I have a feeling that the Arnold Classic can never be the same. Spectators lost a lot of money by losing flights, hotels, rental cars, and tickets to the events. The back and forth between Arnold Classic's promoters and the Mayor and Governor of Ohio was nothing short of a cluster fuck (and that's as polite as I can say). The Arnold Classic 2020 will go down in history as the greatest failure of all time as there is no communication between all parties. This whole thing could have been found out a month in advance and not three days before the Arnold Classic started. It is not that the coronavirus appeared in the first week of March.
Although I give David my hat to offer a free booth on the Boston Pro, I'm not sure that many people will accept it. I hope that everything with the Arnold Classic will be found out sooner rather than later and that there will be some kind of refund or deal that will help everyone involved. It is extremely unfair for vendors to eat the cost of a stand space that has been stolen from them, and they will make brands think twice about getting a stand in the coming years. And since the Arnold Classic Expo is considered the largest in the world, the thought that people can no longer walk is extremely worrying and sad.
Boston Pro Show & Expo Info