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BREAKING NEWS: Boating Industry magazine no longer involved in MDCE, MRAA says dealer conference will continue with new name

BI won’t be involved in MDCE, shown here in 2017, and instead will produce a fall event catering to the entire industry instead of focusing on marine dealers.

BI won’t be involved in MDCE, shown here in 2017, and instead will produce a fall event catering to the entire industry instead of focusing on marine dealers.

Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Boating Industry have agreed to end their partnership that directed the Marine Dealer Conference and Exhibition after a decade of co-producing the event.

The 2018 MDCE, slated for Dec. 9-12 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., will be the final one to be held with that name and branding, but the MRAA will continue holding an annual educational event for dealers, MRAA president Matt Gruhn told Trade Only Today.

“MRAA’s annual conference is not going away,” said Gruhn. “We’ve been running this conference for the last 41 years. While we will change the name of our annual conference going forward, our focus on the dealers and our approach for providing world-class education at our conference will continue well into the future. But at this moment, our team here at MRAA is focused entirely on a wildly successful 2018 conference.”

Boating Industry magazine issued a statement this morning saying that next year’s inaugural Elevate Summit will be held at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center next fall and will incorporate the Boating Industry Top 100 gala, the 40 Under 40 awards, Movers & Shakers and other industry-focused programs.

“Elevate is in the early planning stages, and we’ll be sharing information as we develop that more,” Jonathan Sweet, managing director of Boating Industry shows and the Top 100 program, told Trade Only. “We’re hoping to involve more parts of the industry in the show, and we think it’s something that will benefit the entire industry.”

Sweet said the magazine is looking forward to producing a show for dealers, suppliers, manufacturers and service providers.

MRAA has been producing an annual conference for more than 30 years, said Liz Walz in a 2016 interview with Soundings Trade Only.

In 2007 the MRAA Annual Convention attracted just 175 total participants. The following year, it was rebranded as the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, and as a result of increased education, networking, exhibits and marketing, attendance began to grow, Walz said.

The MRAA entered into a five-year licensing agreement with Boating Industry magazine in 2008, according to Trade Only archives. It was unclear when or if that had been renewed.

According to Boating Industry’s statement, all trademarks, logos, promotion materials and the MDCE name will be retired and preserved, and will only be used to reference the past events that were co-produced by Boating Industry and the MRAA.

“The entire team is dedicated to producing a great event as we have for the last decade,” said Boating Industry editor Tim Hennagir in a statement. 

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