The president of Performance Racing Industry says the return of the PRI Trade Show in downtown Indianapolis was exciting for not just his team, but the city and the entire racing industry. The event, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, drew tens of thousands of people over a four-day period last week at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium after what Dr. Jamie Meyer calls a very careful and strategic planning process. Meyer says the organization is already looking to a return to Indy next year.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Meyer detailed the importance of an in-person event.
“I just got a great note from one of my old friends in the industry who talked about a deal that they did with two other segments of the racing industry on the floor at the PRI Trade Show and he concluded the story with, ‘If it wasn’t for the PRI Trade Show, we never would’ve had that opportunity to get into those industries,” said Meyer. “For me, I’m just thrilled to see all the business that happened on the floor. It’ll set up the entire year for some companies and it could set up an entire decade or generation’s worth of business as this industry’s coming out of the pandemic.”
Meyer says trade show organizations all dealt with the pandemic in their own ways. Since the PRI Trade Show was canceled in 2020, he says they wanted to bring the show to their exhibitors and tell their stories.
That led to the creation of the PRI Road Tour, which visited dozens of manufacturers to spotlight their operations online. The effort continued this year with visits to a variety of racing events from local circle tracks to NHRA races.
Meyer says while that was going on, the city of Indianapolis was working hard to bring the in-person trade show back.
“All these people in Indianapolis kept working every day for the city and got us back online,” he said. “So, we followed the momentum with the biggest trade show in the entire state of Indiana. PRI was a success because of all that momentum coming back to momentum. Very carefully, but very strategically, the city and my team and the racing industry delivered on a really big trade show.”
While specific numbers are still being tallied, Visit Indy says the event exceeded expectations.
“Pre event, we were anticipating 50,000 attendees to race to Indy for PRI’s trade show, generating an estimated $47.9 million in economic impact,” said Chris Gahl with Visit Indy. “In talking with PRI’s leadership team post event, we believe the total number of attendees surged above the estimate.”
Meyer says he is already excited to return to Indy.
“Really, it’s hard to measure customer sentiment right now,” he said. “People are so happy with the PRI Trade Show, so pleased to be in the city of Indianapolis.”