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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.