Industry News

Varsity Communications Purchases Seattle Golf Show, Seattle Travel-Adventure-Gear Expo and Seattle Bike Show

Seattle-Based Company Also Owns Cascade Golfer Magazine And Numerous National Events.

SEATTLE, Washington — Varsity Communications, Inc., producers of Cascade Golfer magazine and popular golf shows throughout the United States, announced today that they have purchased the rights to the Seattle Golf Show, Seattle Bike Show and Travel-Adventure-Gear Expo from Seattle-based Big Boys Toys and Travel Show, Inc. (doing business as Cascadia Events), and will be bringing their successful brand of consumer golf shows to the CenturyLink Field Event Center in 2018.

The three shows are latest addition to the portfolio of high-end consumer expos produced nationally by Varsity, a marketing, communications and event production company with a strong reputation for providing outstanding values to U.S. consumers.

Since its formation in 1985 in a booth at Ravenna's Varsity Inn restaurant, Varsity has grown into one of the largest producers of consumer golf events nationwide, with golf shows in Portland, Dallas, Kansas City, St. Louis, Omaha, Indianapolis, Louisville, Connecticut, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Varsity has also launched or managed several successful local events, including the Merrill Lynch Invitational golf tournament, the Seattle Dog Show, the James Beard Foundation's Taste America, and the flagship tasting events for both the state's wine and craft-distilling industries — Taste Washington and PROOF: The Washington Distillers Festival.

In addition, Varsity has played a significant role in the promotion of golf throughout the region. The company helped create both Pacific Northwest Golfer (with the Pacific Northwest Golf Association) and Cascade Golfer magazines, the latter of which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month. Varsity was also the original producer of the Seattle Golf Show in 1998 (when it was owned by the PNGA and Pacific Northwest Section of the PGA), produces the Northwest Golfers Playbook and Cascade Golfer Players Card, and operates numerous tournaments throughout the region each year.

In all, Varsity currently reaches nearly a half-million golfers annually through its various platforms.

Cascadia Events co-owners John Tipping and Owen Hoskinson have owned the Seattle Golf Show since 2007, when they purchased it from the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and the Pacific Northwest Section of the PGA. Varsity CEO Dick Stephens says that carrying on the legacy built by Tipping and Hoskinson is a privilege the company is eager to embrace.

"John Tipping and Owen Hoskinson are gentlemen that have cared for these shows, poured their time and talents into them and have backed the sports of golf, cycling and adventure in a way no one else did here in Seattle," Stephens says.

"We are honored to own and produce these events and are excited to be reunited with the Seattle Golf Show, which we first ran 20 years ago," he continues. "It's an exciting time for our company, and we are looking forward to building on the traditions and legacy of Owen and John."

Tipping and Hoskinson both stated that they are confident the transition will be a smooth one.

"Our objective from the beginning was that the entire golf community would consider this their show, and I hope we achieved that," Tipping says. "We're thrilled that Varsity Communications will continue on a lot of what we tried to do — and we think they will improve on it. Quite frankly, Varsity was in the saddle when the golf show started — now they get to retake the reins.

"I want to personally thank all of the exhibitors, attendees, sponsors, and volunteers; everyone who contributed to the success of the show — and there are hundreds of them," Tipping continues. "Thank you for helping us make the show the largest on the West Coast. I think Varsity will take it to new heights, and look forward to being there in March and checking it out."

In addition to the golf show, Varsity will also produce the Seattle Bike Show and Travel-Adventure-Gear Expo, which represent exciting forays for the company. Hoskinson was instrumental with Tipping in the production of each of these events, and sees the future is bright for both as businesses with Varsity moving forward.

“John and I have known Dick and his business partner, Kirk Tourtillotte, for a long time," Hoskinson says. "Of all the show producers out there, we felt they were best suited to build on what we have accomplished. We are looking forward to helping them grow all three shows in any way we can. I also want to give a special thanks to Tom Cade, the PNGA and the WSGA for all of the support they have given us over the years. They have been great partners."

The addition of these shows, and in particular the Seattle Golf Show, to Varsity's local portfolio — including the Portland Golf Show, Cascade Golfer magazine and its affiliated products and events — brings a synergy to the Northwest's consumer golf scene that should show strong results for Northwest golfers.

"We are very excited about how Cascade Golfer and The Seattle Golf & Travel Show, through their combined efforts, will elevate golf to new levels in the Pacific Northwest for both our audience and corporate partners," says Kirk Tourtillotte, Vice President of Varsity Communications. "As a company, we also look for new ventures to pour our passions into and feel the Bike and Adventure Shows are a perfect fit moving forward.”

To learn more about Varsity Communications, visit www.VarsityCommunications.com. For interviews with company representatives and show organizers, contact Brian Beaky at 888-367-6420, x103.