NBCSports Network’s multi-year sponsorship run of the Shooting, Hunting andOutdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show)–“the largest show of its kind in theworld”–is over.According to an NBC Sports spokesperson, the decision was business-based: “Ourlevel of sponsorship has varied each year, and this January we will notbe sponsoring the show because it does not make business sense for usat this time.”
SHOT Show, owned and organized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, is a four day event that attracts more than 60,000 attendeesand 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, hadparticipated in the show for the past several years. Last October, thenetwork renewed its official sponsorship of the SHOT Show New ProductCenter, long a top attraction for attendees and media.
In early January, however, just as efforts to pass gun control legislationin Congress were heating up, NBC Sports found itself a target of MediaMatters for America (MMfA). This far left group, “dedicated tocomprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservativemisinformation in the U.S. media,” criticized NBC Sports’ sponsorship ofthe SHOT Show–an event MMfA no doubt considered to be a glorified peprally 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.” Shortlybefore the SHOT Show’s January 15th start date, MMfA alerted itsrelationship between NBC Sports and Second Amendment rights advocates.
As MMfA explained:
SHOT Show is billed as the “thelargest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involvedwith the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries” andthan just a trade show; according to its organizer, the NationalShooting Sports Foundation, “Any SHOT attendee will tell you the show ismore than about selling and buying; it’s a powerful display of industryunity and its resolve to meet any challenge affecting the right tomake, sell and own firearms.”NBC Sports apparently supports that “display of industry unity” against stronger gun laws.
Althoughan NBC Sports spokesperson maintains the decision to drop its sponsorship of the 2014SHOT 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.