Athletic Business Conference Celebrated 30 Years


The Athletic Business Conference celebrated its 30th show Dec. 1-3 in Orlando, FL, coming a long way from the Chicago Marriott ballroom in which the show was first held in December 1982.

As of Dec. 2, conference administrators were showing 2,961 attendees, not including exhibitors, according to Sue Searls, conference director for Athletic Business. The trade show featured 310 exhibitors, a slight decline from the 320 at last year’s show in San Diego. However, Searls says that conference organizers were heartened to see some new exhibitors along with ABC’s longtime regulars.

The preconference military meetings were cancelled this year because of a new directive by the Department of Defense that required approval of all meetings. That directive came too close to the show to get the meetings approved, Searls says. However, the military seminars were held and were well attended by the 153 military attendees, most of whom were higher level military, Searls says. The military represented came from all four services plus the Coast Guard and Canadian Forces.

Bill Walton, former basketball star, offered the keynote address on Dec. 2 at the conference. The winners of the Facility of Merit Awards were unveiled prior to the keynote, and a reception was held for them later that evening.

The conference was held in conjunction with conferences by the International Council on Active Aging, the National Alliance for Youth Sports and the Medical Fitness Association.

Next year’s conference will be held Nov. 28-Dec. 1 in New Orleans. The 2013 conference is slated for San Diego.