Chicagoland’s premier boating and outdoors event

Published on September 2nd, 2014

(September 2, 2014) – The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced it is combining the Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show with Strictly Sail Chicago to create Chicagoland’s premier boating and outdoors event – the Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show, taking place January 14-18, 2015. The combination of two of the Midwest’s largest shows is a result of market demand for a one-stop shop for all things boating and outdoors and significant support from the boating, RV and sailing industries.

“Joining Chicagoland’s two winter boat shows creates a world of opportunity for all exhibitors, driving customers to one premier destination for boating, sailing and the outdoors,” noted Ben Wold, Executive Vice President, NMMA. “With a combined attendee base exceeding 50,000 people from throughout the Midwest, the new Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show will deliver more buyers, more opportunities to reach new audiences, and more value for everyone involved.”

The Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show will maintain its mid-January dates and as a result of the merger, is expected to grow 30% in its first year in the new South Hall location at McCormick Place (previously held in the North Hall). The new South Hall location features 840,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space all on one level and can accommodate larger power and sailboats that exhibitors have been eager to display and now have an opportunity to do so.

“We’re excited NMMA has decided to combine Chicago’s two winter boat shows – a move we believe will benefit both the power and sailing industries. And the shift to McCormick Place’s South Hall is a great opportunity for exhibitors to create an even better selling environment and experience for attendees, which will ultimately produce a bigger, more successful show,” said Dennis Radcliff, Regional Sales Manager, Monterey Boats.

“The new location of the show is what the RV industry needed to reach new audiences and better cater to our clients. The show has been a longstanding tradition for boaters, RV’ers and outdoorsmen, and we’re hopeful the new Progressive Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show will ignite interest from new customers,” echoed Tom Podlin, Sales Manager, Rick’s RV.

To preserve the integrity and brand of Strictly Sail, the show will feature three distinct areas—powerboats, RVs, and “Strictly Sail Chicago.” Sail-specific booths will be located within the sail section, while marine, travel, and outdoor gear will occupy a central location on the show floor. Plans also include enhanced attractions and a premier lineup of seminars covering all aspects of boating and the outdoors, including the extensive educational offerings sailors have come to expect from Strictly Sail Chicago.

“We applaud the NMMA for making this bold move. After discussions with our members and directors, Sail America supports the combining of these shows. We recognize the importance of preserving the legacy of Strictly Sail Chicago and its evolution within a multi-show venue. The new format will ultimately expose sailing to a greater audience. We look forward to our ongoing relationship with NMMA finding ways to promote the health and growth of sailing,” said Stanton Murray, President, Sail America.

Chicago is a hub for the recreational boating industry, providing easy access to waterways and inland lakes throughout the Midwest. Chicagoland is home to more than 150,000 boats, and 5,000 slips in nine marinas border the city’s lakefront.

For more information, visit

Source: Sarah Ryser, NMMA Director of Communications

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