Caribou Media buys BLADE Magazine and associated shows

Blade Magazine sold

This is a bit of “inside baseball” as it were, and won’t affect the overwhelming majority of both our readership and the larger knife community. Whether or not it proves to be a big deal within industry circles remains to be seen, but it certainly bears mention on these pages.

From Trade Show Executive:

SAN FRANCISCO — Caribou Media Group, owner of various gun industry publications such as Gun Digest, has entered the knife realm with its acquisition of BLADE magazine and two related events — BLADE Show and BLADE Show West — from F+W Media.

The BLADE Show, which is 37 years old, is held annually at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, where it draws a reported 15,000 attendees and 800 exhibiting companies who occupy 170,000 square feet of exhibit space. The recently launched BLADE Show West will kick off later this year in Portland, Ore. BLADE Magazine has 28,000 subscribers.

Corporate Solutions, based in Westport, Conn., advised F+W Media in arranging, structuring and negotiating the transaction.

Reach Nick Curci, Corporate Solutions, at (203) 226-4040 or ncurci@csmergers.com

This comes on the heels of a number of odd decisions by the folks at F&W Media with regards to this year’s show. They added a second, smaller room of exhibitor tables, off the main show floor, but didn’t tell them until set up time Thursday they couldn’t access the room until 8 that night. They were going to not let Media passes in during the VIP/Early Bird hours from noon to 2pm on Friday, though they relented a couple of weeks prior to the show. Knife Magazine was denied an exhibitor table for the first time ever, for reasons that have never quite made sense, and the staff members I know from BLADE Magazine and F+W all looked like they had been through the wringer.

We have also commented on the absence and return of various production knife companies over the years. I have speculated (prior to the return of SOG, Cold Steel, and Gerber) that BLADE was destined to be a custom knife show, with production companies treating SHOT as their biggest event. Now, I don’t know. With new ownership comes the possibility of new direction. We will keep you apprised as the tea leaves become clearer.

comments

  1. Sam L. says:

    Maybe, if the stars align, or even get together, I can go the to Blade Show West!

  2. TIm says:

    Let’s not forget the pay to play scheme of Early Bird passes that allowed folks who purchased the additional pass (on top of the regular show badge) to get in an hour earlier than those with VIP passes, and cut the time VIP’s had on the floor down to only an hour before the public. And the fact that they limited the number of exhibitor badges, as well as made two tiers of exhibitor badges where “helper” badges couldn’t get in until noon on Friday. That impacted a good number of vendors when it came to set up and having things properly staffed and both issues raised a lot of hackles. On top of that there was rather surly security staff enforcing these decisions and confusion in the Thursday and Friday set up days as to who was allowed in and when. It was an odd show that almost came away with a hostile feel towards exhibitors. A far cry from what had always been a very welcoming, family show environment in years past.

  3. mike crenshaw says:

    There were a lot of angry Exhibitors this year and let’s hope that Caribou (or whoever they get to manage the show) stop treating Exhibitors like children.

    Another hope is that Caribou recognizes that Blade is the largest COLLECTOR and general knife show in the world. It isn’t a gun show. It is unique in that custom makers at the highest level of their art and the collectors that are willing to pay hundreds and thousands and TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars rub elbows with antique collector/exhibitors, utility makers and users and production companies from all over the world.

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Caribou Media buys BLADE Magazine and associated shows

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