Under Construction: The 2018 SEMA Show, SEMA Ignited and Battle of the Builders

SEMA News—July 2018

Under Construction: The 2018 SEMA Show, SEMA Ignited and Battle of the Builders

Chris Kersting

Chris Kersting

As we write this, preparations for the 2018 SEMA Show are in full swing. Booth selection is nearly complete, and exhibiting companies are already coordinating with the staff at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, to firm up plans for the upcoming Show. As we construct the Show each year, the focus is on creating value for exhibitors and making sure to include productive opportunities for buyers to do business. In the process, we look for new ideas to build on the shoulders of the SEMA Show, to expand audiences and create more excitement not only within the industry but beyond the Show walls to the consumer world as well.

One idea that has worked—the Friday-night SEMA Ignited event—has helped showcase the products of the trade-only SEMA Show to a broader audience of consumers. The general public has long shown fascination with the cars kept behind closed doors at the SEMA Show, and the SEMA Ignited event gives the world the opportunity to see them up close. The event has led to a tsunami of social-media activity, reaching an audience that would not normally be familiar with SEMA exhibitor products or the fountain of ideas they represent.

This year, SEMA Ignited will continue building momentum—and with the Gold Lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) now under construction, SEMA is finalizing a new site for the event. The new Platinum Lot site is just across the street from the South Hall of the LVCC. The new location will allow for a more rapid procession of the SEMA Cruise and will nicely accommodate the Ignited venue. Further details will be announced soon and we are looking forward to an outstanding event again this year.

Another recent addition to the Show—the Battle of the Builders contest—will again anchor a consumer media strategy that yields substantial magazine coverage, a feature TV special, countless blogs and literally billions of social-media impressions. This year, the Battle of the Builders will expand to honor winners in four categories: Truck, Hot Rod, Sport Compact Car and Young Guns—the new category for up-and-coming builders under 27 years of age.

There will still be one overall Battle of the Builders winner, but the new awards ensure that there will be top category representation for different types of vehicles and more opportunities to introduce builders with diverse specialties. Last year’s Battle of the Builders competition drew nearly 300 applications. By expanding to include four category winners, we anticipate even greater participation this year, with greater opportunity to create new heroes—and new fans.

The changes to this year’s Ignited and Battle of the Builders won’t be revolutionary, but they will help ensure that the SEMA Show continues developing opportunities for the industry and providing exciting content to energize consumers.

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