Dubai-based World Media Group Ltd, has acquired a stake in the Game Fair
Public events may have taken a battering due to Covid but the Game Fair has an assured future thanks to the financial backing of its new owners, World Media Group (WMG), which, amongst other events, has run the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX).
Last week, the Game Fair announced its decision to postpone this year’s event and move the date to 23-25th July 2021 when it will return to the familiar surroundings of Ragley Hall. “It is a tough time for the industry, but we are pleased to say that the majority of exhibitors and sponsors understand and are supporting the move by re-booking into the 2021 event” commented managing director and co-owner James Gower.
Shooting UK asked Gemma Payne, head of marketing at the Game Fair, how the new ownership would benefit visitors. She replied: “As with all events, the last six months have been particularly difficult but this restructure gives us financial stability and means we are in an excellent position to move forward and invest in 2021.”
Asked about the implications of social distancing. Gemma replied: “Obviously we will be following government guidelines.
“We won’t be constricted by space at Ragley Hall and being outside is a huge positive. I don’t know how indoor events are going to cope in the next year or so but being outside means that people will have the chance to attend an event they’ve known and loved.”
In answer to questions about future changes, Gemma responded. “The much-loved traditional Game Fair format will remain, but naturally the event will evolve with new features and attractions. We will also be focused on making the event sustainable and ensuring it thrives for future generations.”
“We are talking about introducing some evening entertaining into the campsite and there is going to be more focus and availability for glamping, particularly with the rise of staycations. Our campsite sales have been huge so we expecting growth in that area.
“The evening entertainment is likely to be bands, bar areas, nice seating areas and maybe even outdoor cinemas.”
Of course, the damp spot in all this could be the weather, but fieldsports fans tend to be a hardy bunch, as Gemma affirms: “Our visitors are resilient and not afraid of a bit of rain. Everyone still has a great time in spite of it not being the best weather, with 40 degree heat one day and then hail the next, like last year.”
WMG’s Chairman, Richard Hease, will chair the company going forward, working with James Gower.
The event will now be located at Ragley Hall for the next five years for financial reasons. Gemma explained: “One reason organisers look to maintain venues is because longterm infrastructure is more cost-effective than short-term. This will allow us to invest more in feature areas and world class competitions; alongside our marketing commitment to promote fieldsports and the countryside to a wider audience.”
Finally Shooting UK asked whether there would ever be a Game Fair in the UAE? Gemma responded: “There is already an amazing event in Qatar called S’Hail which we are heavily involved in and take a British Pavilion to each year. It is likely that The Game Fair will launch additional events both in the UK and overseas to add to their portfolio.”