NBC Sports Drops Sponsorship of Nation's Largest Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show

NBC Sports Network’s multi-year sponsorship run of the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show)--“the largest show of its kind in the world”--is over. According to an NBC Sports spokesperson, the decision was business-based: "Our level of sponsorship has varied each year, and this January we will not be sponsoring the show because it does not make business sense for us at this time."

SHOT Show, owned and organized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, is a four day event that attracts more than 60,000 attendees and 1,600 companies exhibiting products from the firearms, ammunition, hunting, law enforcement, and shooting accessories industries.

NBC Sports, which airs a slate of outdoor programming, had participated in the show for the past several years. Last October, the network renewed its official sponsorship of the SHOT Show New Product Center, long a top attraction for attendees and media.

In early January, however, just as efforts to pass gun control legislation in Congress were heating up, NBC Sports found itself a target of Media Matters for America (MMfA). This far left group, “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media,” criticized NBC Sports’ sponsorship of the SHOT Show--an event MMfA no doubt considered to be a glorified pep rally that promoted and perpetuated America’s “gun culture.”

Having ignored the network’s participation in previous SHOT Shows, MMfA now came to regard the situation as an “issue.” Shortly before the SHOT Show’s January 15th start date, MMfA alerted its “audience” to raise concerns over what it considered to be a cozy relationship between NBC Sports and Second Amendment rights advocates.

As MMfA explained:

SHOT Show is billed as the "the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries" and "the world's premier exposition of combined firearms." But it is more than just a trade show; according to its organizer, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, "Any SHOT attendee will tell you the show is more than about selling and buying; it's a powerful display of industry unity and its resolve to meet any challenge affecting the right to make, sell and own firearms." NBC Sports apparently supports that "display of industry unity" against stronger gun laws.

Although an NBC Sports spokesperson maintains the decision to drop its sponsorship of the 2014 SHOT Show was because "it does not make business sense for us at the time", the network, nevertheless, will send executives to the show but for purposes related strictly to hunting and outdoor sports, not firearms.


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