Mohegan Sun

Be a Part of the IAEE MATSO Community

Defining The Major American Trade Show

Major American Trade Shows are comprised of not-for-profit and for-profit exhibitions with at least 200,000 NSF of exhibition space.

Major American Trade Show Organizer (MATSO) History

The founding of MATSO began in the late 1970s and formalized as a corporation in 1985 when it was originally chartered in Chicago as a means of coordinating dialogue among the city’s major trade show producers. Over the years, the exchanges focused on operational challenges particularly relevant to events of scale and complexity. There was a larger vision to broaden its geographic reach beyond Chicago and expand the internal focus from solely operations to include all functional aspects of major show production, including marketing and sales, legislation, labor, international challenges and operation. The founders wanted to create a collective voice reflecting the unique perspective of the producers of major, industry-leading events. MATSO’s initial fundamentals included:

  • Wide-open exchange of ideas and solutions in a competition-free environment
  • A forum to support in-depth problem-solving as a group , addressing major-scale challenges that threaten the stability of the industry
  • Ongoing dialogue to support establishing meaningful Best Practices for major events
  • The collective voice to influence the industry marketplace for the betterment of major event producers
  • Perpetuating a non-commercial environment


After a year of in-depth discussion between IAEE and MATSO leadership, the IAEE MATSO Council was announced in December 2013 in Houston at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition. The focus of the MATSO Council is on all functional aspects of major show production in keeping with the original vision. The MATSO Council is governed by the IAEE Bylaws, Article IX, which outlines the council’s authority (detailed in the MATSO charge). MATSO will have an ex-officio representative on the IAEE board of directors and a staff liaison assigned to coordinate support between IAEE departments.

Mission: To present the viewpoint and advance the success of the major trade show [at least 200,000 NSF] and to provide a mechanism for the exchange and dissemination of information relevant to that audience.

Vision: To be viewed as the authority on issues relevant to all stakeholders of major trade shows [at least 200,000 NSF].

Major American Trade Show Organizer Criteria

Organizers of not-for-profit and for-profit exhibitions with at least 200,000 NSF of exhibition space who are members of IAEE are MATSO members and are entitled to IAEE and MATSO benefits.

The following criteria determine MATSO eligibility:

  • Co-located Exhibitions and Events
    Qualify if total NSF equals at least 200,000 and the event participating in MATSO is at least 100,000 NSF of that 200,000.
  • Annual, Biennial, Triennial (and more) Exhibitions and Events
    Qualify as long as the minimum NSF of 200K is met.
  • Third-Party Event Services/Management Companies
    1. MATSO participation is for show organizers who are employees of associations or independent show management companies that own and operate an event that is 200K NSF or larger.
    2. Additionally, independent show management companies hired by an association or company to manage all their show operations (sales, marketing and operations) can participate, provided their client provides in writing what work the company performs for them and a justification for them to participate in place of the client.  Participation from these organizations is limited to staff who work on the qualifying event only and they must agree to no solicitation.
    3. Companies that are service providers to the industry are not eligible to participate in MATSO.

Membership in IAEE brings major trade show organizers:

  • Access to the influence and relationships that result from the coming together of leaders in the industry
  • Access to professional growth through high-level meeting participation (meetings are closed to members only, no vendors)
  • Access to the distinction that comes from being part of an exclusive group of like-minded professionals
  • Access to critical knowledge not available from other sources
  • Access to timely information that keeps you ahead of current trends
  • Access to breaking news on first-tier cities and other major show issues
  • Access to vanguard solutions for pressing industry challenges

Specific MATSO Member Benefits

  • A forum for addressing the challenges of major trade shows (twice a year)
  • Best practices and position papers developed on topics unique to major exhibitions (coming soon)
  • Communications, programming, meetings and advocacy targeted to IAEE’s major trade show members

Broaden Your Industry Knowledge

IAEE events (special registration rates for members)

  • Women’s Leadership Forum
  • Krakoff Leadership Institute
  • CEM Learning Designation Program
  • Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition
  • MATSO Meetings at MATSO shows (by invitation only)

Grow Your Network

  • Access to IAEE’s member directory (includes other major trade show counterparts)
  • MemberLink (IAEE’s online members-only forum)
  • Private LinkedIn Group to discuss MATSO related issues – Apply here
  • Chapter membership
  • Face-to-Face events
  • Online and on-location education programming
  • Volunteer opportunities

Tailored Industry Resources

  • The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) products/reports at the member rate (most reports are free)
  • CEIR Index sector report after submitting data to the CEIR Index
  • discounts on promotional products and services relevant to the exhibition and events industry

Stay Aware of Industry Trends

  • IAEE The Source: monthly email giving the latest news on IAEE activities and industry happenings
  • IAEE OnPoint: weekly newsletter focusing on the latest IAEE activities as well as industry trends
  • Trade Show Calendar: comprehensive list of shows by show name, city, state, country, region, industry and month
  • IAEE Blog Station: covers a variety of topics that are of interest to IAEE membership

View Membership details or contact