Daytona Beach, Fla. - The organizer of the 24
is preparing for a larger trade and consumer turnout here on March 13-14 and plans to add a trade-only day to next year's event.
Almost 50 suppliers and retailers will exhibit at the combination soundoff, car show and bikini contest event, up from about 30 last year, as many suppliers return after an absence of several years, said show promoter Paul Papadeas. Returning companies include Sony, Directed Electronics, Polk and Harman. Other exhibitors include Orion, Polk, Hertz/Audison, JVC, MTX, Phoenix Gold, SoundStream and Precision Power.
Papadeas attributed growing supplier interest to an expanded Ocean Center arena/convention center complex, where two floors of breakouts rooms enabled suppliers to conduct dealer training for the first time, he explained. "The number of companies taking advantage of this is increasing this year," he told TWICE.
Papadeas also expects total attendance to rise from last year's 15,000 because of stronger social-network promotion and the first-time use of TV advertising in the four-county area to promote the event, he said. The event is also bringing in more celebrities, including rappers DJ Khaled, Dorrough, and Trina, as well as DJ Funkmaster Flex and car customizer Will Castro.
The sound systems of about 400 vehicles will be judged during three soundoff events: the
(International Autosound Challenge Association) North American Championships and regional contests held by
(Mobile Electronics Competition Association).
Next year for the event's silver anniversary, Papadeas wants to capitalize on the trade's growing interest in using the consumer show as a venue for doing business. He will add a trade-only day on Monday, March 21, following two weekend days of mixed consumer and trade traffic.
About 16 years ago, Florida distributors began setting up displays to appeal to consumers and the trade, and then they took to the Ocean Center's handful of breakout rooms to write purchase orders, Papadeas said. Southeast reps followed to make deals and sign up new dealers, including the many dealers who compete in the soundoff events' pro category.
Last year, the Ocean Center expanded by adding 100,000 square feet of exhibit space and 23 dedicated breakout rooms to its 60,000-square-foot arena, and as a result, "We can do a bona fide trade show" for suppliers at one-fourth the price of CES," Papadeas said. The venue gives suppliers the opportunity to reach out to East Coast dealers who aren't attending CES, he said.