Annual sports and outdoor consumer show slated for February 2-10, 2013 at PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg was officially postponed today by event producer Reed Exhibitions, costing local economy $80 million in lost direct and indirect spending.

Harrisburg, PA (January 24, 2013) - The producers of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, today announced the event would be postponed as a result of a controversy surrounding its decision to limit the sale or display of modern sporting rifles (MSR) at the event, according to a statement posted on the show's website on January 24, 2013.

The  Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg has a longstanding tradition of hosting a consumer sports and outdoor show, dating back to 1951.

Tourism Officials at the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) estimate the postponement of the state’s largest outdoor sports show means $44 million in direct spending from vendors and attendees and $80 million in lost revenue for the local economy.

The 22 hotels offering special room rate agreements for show vendors and attendees say the event accounted for approximately 12,000 room- nights over a 10-day period in a traditionally slow tourism season for a region that welcomes 10 million visitors annually.

Tourism officials claim the estimated loss is conservative, factoring in only the direct and indirect spending for the 1,000 vendors and anticipated 250,000 attendees.

“Reported numbers do not account for lost revenue at the event complex from parking, food and beverage, and service and rental fees,” said Mary Smith, president of HHRVB.

The bureau did not have details on the lost revenue at the complex, but Smith said it would be in the millions considering the scale of this event compared to other shows they have secured for the complex. The estimates also do not account for lost revenue from the 5 percent hotel tax collected by Dauphin County.

Officials are not commenting on the producer’s postponement decision, nor are they aware at this time what Reed Exhibitions plans are for rescheduling.

“Our relationship with Reed Exhibitions has continued to strengthen and grow over the years and we are hopeful that the show will return,” said Sharon Altland, director of sales for HHRVB. “The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show is the largest privately produced show at the complex, considering the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show every January is a nine-day agriculture convention organized by the Commonwealth's Department of Agriculture." 

The Pennsylvania Farm Show and the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show are considered pillars of the regional tourism industry's first quarter of revenue, according to Altland.

Many local businesses and the 80 hotels in the Hershey and Harrisburg region will develop their annual operating budgets for the first quarter of the year based on the traditional revenue generated by those two events.