An agreement between the city of Miami and the village of Key Biscayne fell through after a long closed-door meeting Thursday night — unsurprisingly after village officials reneged support on Wednesday — but organizers of the Miami International Boat Show say that won’t prevent the show from taking place at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin in 2016.
“The 2016 boat show is moving forward at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin, regardless of mediation,” National Marine Manufacturers Association spokeswoman Ellen Hopkins told Trade Only Today. “It would be great if the city and village can come to an agreement, but we want the Miami Marine Stadium to be a long-term venue for the show.”
The proposed agreement, published by the Miami Herald, left open the possibility of the NMMA-organized boat show being forced out of the venue in 2018 and beyond.
“While it’s unfortunate the mediation between the village of Key Biscayne and city of Miami has hit an impasse, we believe an agreement that ensures a long-term home for the Miami International Boat Show at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin is the best path forward, protecting the $597 million in economic activity it generates for the state of Florida each year and generating annual revenue to the city of Miami of over $1 million,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only in an email on Thursday morning. “We will continue to work with city officials to make the site the home of the boat show in 2016 and beyond.”
The NMMA launched a consumer marketing campaign and is sending a letter to exhibitors to assure them that the failed deal in no way affects the 2016 show.
“The city is fully committed to having the boat show here,” Hopkins said. “We’ve invested millions of dollars in infrastructure on the site. We’ve put permanent structures on that site, so we can have the show there for years. We are working with the city to make sure the boat show has a home there for many years to come.”
Key Biscayne filed three lawsuits in an attempt to prevent the show from moving to Virginia Key. Despite the legal challenges, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado told Trade Only that he envisions no scenario in which the show will not take place. He says site work at the stadium park and basin is on schedule and on budget.
The village hired a PR firm to launch a media blitz to highlight negatives to the show, but has been relatively quiet after an environmental protest against the show — which organizers said would draw thousands — wound up with only a few dozen people to wave banners.
The Herald, in its coverage of the event, said the protest “mostly flopped” and that the disappointing turnout “may have actually undercut claims that the vast scope of the boat show’s Presidents Day weekend event has prompted intense opposition.”