There has been a lot of attention around the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) buying the Performance Racing Industry trade show. We posed 10 questions to Scooter Brothers, SEMA's chairman of the board, to find out.
1. Why would SEMA buy PRI?
SEMA has a responsibility to its members to work for the betterment of the industry and help its members remain healthy. The PRI and the PRI Show takes a little different message to a little different customer, so it seemed a logical place for SEMA members to tell their story to a potentially new and exciting market.
2. Will the PRI show stay in Orlando?
SEMA has no immediate plans to move the Show from Orlando. Further out, PRI will listen to the needs of the exhibitors and the attendees and we will hold the show wherever they are best served. Further out, PRI will listen to the exhibitors and attendees and their best interests will help make the decision as to where the show is held. The PRI Show is there for its customers, and that is what will dictate where the show is held.
3. What's the first priority for SEMA with regard to the PRI show?
Really the only thing SEMA needs to do for PRI is to give it some resources to do what it does well even better. SEMA has a network to deliver messages, and with that we should help a good Show become great and help it grow during a time when most shows are shrinking.
4. How will this change of ownership impact the "little guy" sportsman racer? Or will it not?
There's no change to the message or the customer of PRI. The "little guy" sportsman is the heart of the PRI Show and the main reason the show exists. PRI does everything possible to deliver more value and help all racers. With the additional resources SEMA can bring, it should make it even better for the "little guy" sportsman racers. In fact, SEMA may help PRI with some things to make it even better for that very important segment of the market.
5. Will there be any integration of SEMA and PRI?
SEMA has been intent on keeping the PRI team intact and letting them deliver the goods. John Kilroy will remain the "face of PRI" and will lead the PRI team into the future. The same people, in the same building, with the same passion and dedication to both PRI and its customers will continue to operate just as it always has. If there's something SEMA can help with as an added resource to PRI they will, but for all purposes PRI will remain as folks have known it the past couple of years.
6. Now that SEMA has purchased PRI, is it going to stay primarily a racing-focused show or will it become more of a glitzy SEMA-type event with more emphasis on street performance?
The PRI Show will remain the racing-focused show the industry knows and values. PRI has always been a great organization even before the change in ownership. There will be no change in the message or the delivery of that message and the last thing SEMA wants to do is make it a "SEMA East." PRI is the best racing show on the planet, and it will only grow and be better with SEMA's backing. SEMA bought the company because it has always been successful as is, and that's the way SEMA intends for it to be.
7. In the last few years, PRI has seen more influence of international series, such as Brazilian drifting. Is SEMA going to continue this focus? The world is getting smaller every day, and the passion for racing and "loving your car" is universal. The PRI Show has become the preferred international racing show because of the quality of the message it delivers and the fact that the PRI people deliver that message worldwide. There is a huge market for the racing products made by the exhibitors at the PRI Show, and expanding into the international market only delivers more value to the exhibitors at the Show. SEMA will support PRI as it strengthens its international racing participation.
8. What are the plans for PRI in the years to come?
SEMA will listen to the PRI team and its customers to understand how to continue providing great value over the coming years. We'll have to keep giving great return on investment. Other than that, there are no specific plans. SEMA's role is to give more resources to the PRI Staff to allow them to grow the Show, grow the magazine, and help the exhibitors and the racers grow accordingly.
9. How do you see the purchase affecting IMIS?
PRI is the largest racing show in the world. PRI will continue to do what it has done for the last 25 years. However, if there is some way to better collaborate and work with IMIS to help the racers and the exhibitors in the future it only makes sense to do so. Due to scheduling, things are pretty well set for the next couple of years but we will have to see what the future brings.
10. What does this purchase mean to the overall aftermarket?
SEMA bought PRI with the intent of helping the industry grow and prosper. This purchase will help ensure that the racing industry is around for a long time. And as long as racing flourishes, so will the SEMA members in that segment of the market. There's one more thing worth mentioning. There are plenty of people, including our friends in Washington, who would love nothing more than to see racing go away. Racetracks all over the country are being closed down for various reasons. SEMA has a very active presence in DC and in the state governments, and works hard for the preservation of racing. SEMA's efforts will help insure the racers have a place to race and the racing industry a place to sell parts. There's not a better way I can think of to utilize SEMA's resources for the performance aftermarket.