Tag Archives: Wizard World

Episode 101 – The Mid-Move Mess

On this episode of Nerd & Tie we deal with the ongoing move of our production studio, mourn the passing of Adam West, go through the highlights of E3, discuss the changes coming to Pokemon Go, review the confusing situation surrounding the Venom movie (and how it MIGHT still be MCU adjacent), and consider Wizard World’s money problems.

There are a few technical difficulties in the video too, but at least the audio version is largely clean?

This episode of Nerd & Tie was sponsored by Ohio Kimono

Wizard World’s Money Problems Continue With Shrinking Margins

Convention mega chain Wizard World has had some widely reported financial issues over the last few years, and it looks like things haven’t gotten any better for the company. Even having scaled back operations to fewer conventions and securing outside funding from Bristol Investment Fund, the company still managed to lose over $1.28 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Revenue per Wizard World show is down $99,096 from 2016, and with an ever more crowded con market, I can’t really see that getting better soon. This isn’t even to mention the “Con Box” subscription service, which appears to have fallen apart completely.

Honestly, as more and more pop culture events spring up across the country, and celebrity guarantees rise, the costs are making the continued existence of a chain like Wizard World untenable. Where finding big name celebrities at a regional con used to be novelty, it’s becoming less and less of one as time goes by. Without that draw (and a pretty hefty entrance fee), it’s hard to see a bright future for the company in its current state.

Via Newsarama

Wizard World Switching From TicketLeap to Ticketmaster Subsidiary Front Gate Tickets

Wizard World announced last week that they would be switching from long time partner Ticketleap to the Ticketmaster subsidiary Front Gate Tickets. This change goes into effect with Wizard World Portland (February 17-19, 2017).

Mostly it’s a pretty boring “switching contractors” story, but there is an interesting wrinkle to this. Buried in the press release:

“Comic Con events are full of passionate fans and Wizard World is on the forefront of unlocking technology to better the fan experience and we couldn’t be happier to partner with them,” said Maura Gibson, President, Front Gate Tickets. “By leveraging RFID technology to utilize cashless payments and our Fan Engagement Suite for marketing sponsors, we’re able to create seamless, engaging experiences with the tap of a wristband while providing rich data to the Wizard World team.”

What this means is that RFID tags on badges/wristbands will allow Wizard World to track purchases made during the con. If the ability to accept these payments is expanded to vendors, depending on their contract with Front Gate Tickets says it could mean Wizard World would know which vendors did what kind of business during the event.

Maybe it’s just me, but that’s a little creepy. I’d probably just stick with cash.

Speaking of vendors, as a side note, this deal also apparently means that vendors can no longer pay for tables with a credit card. As The Beat reports, vendors began receiving emails from Wizard World on Friday telling them that payment will now only be accepted in check form. In a world where even the smallest cons accept vendor payment from credit cards, this just feels like going backwards.

But hey with Wizard World’s current financial issues, maybe going back in time is what they want.

Is the ‘Comic Con’ Bubble Finally Bursting?

The last few years have seen a massive increase in the number of cons out there. The most noticeable of these have been the pop culture events (labelled as “Comic Cons” much to the chagrin of comic collectors), but it kind of spans the full gamut of geek events. Many of us who follow the con scene have been worrying about market saturation, and that we are likely in an unstable, unsustainable bubble.

And it might be bursting.

We’ve spoken repeatedly over the last couple of years about Wizard World’s financial instability. They lost $4.3 million in 2015 and massively scaled back their 2016 and future 2017 plans. Those changes may not be enough though, as the company has reported some major cash flow issues going forward. In other words, Wizard World is pretty much broke.

It’s so broke, that it’s highly possible that it’ll get bought out soon, as groups like Jerrick Media Holdings, Inc. have expressed interest in buying the chain up at a discount.

Things are looking bleak for other shows too — with the cancellation of both Amazing Arizona Comic Con and Amazing Houston Comic Con. This leaves the Hawaii and Las Vegas cons the only “Amazing” shows left. The cancellation is being blamed on the current “social climate,” but as that sounds like code for “the election” it doesn’t quite make sense. I mean, the Arizona event was scheduled for February, and the as the election was just a few weeks ago, it’s hard to see it as anything other than poor ticket sales and market forces which forced the cancellation.

It’s not just the larger operators, as we recently saw the failed launch of Rewind Con, and the implosion of YourMiniCon’s attempt to build a chain of events. It’s also not just pop culture events being effected too, with the cancellation of Umi Con Daytona due to financial issues, and the complete collapse of the multiple Sukoshi Con run anime cons.

We may be seeing more of these failures over the next couple of years.

The funny thing is, there are still new cons popping up, and some are still growing. And while this will certainly not be the end of con culture (as a lot of smaller cons will definitely survive), it may be the end of most of the massive “pop culture” expos.

Or I’m wrong, and it won’t be. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Via Newsarama, Bleeding Cool

Episode 85 – Battle Pants (The Pants You Battle)

On this episode of the Nerd & Tie Podcast: Bryan Fuller has stepped down as show runner for Star Trek: Discovery, DC’s Flash Movie has lost its second director, Young Justice is actually getting a third season, The Dark Tower is delayed until next summer, Wizard World is cutting back for 2017, Steve Wozniak’s Tokyo Comic Con takes a bad crossplay position (and then reverses it), and actor Ray Park was questioned by police for allegedly assaulting a woman at Super Megafest Comic Con.

Also, we talk a bit about Doctor Strange and the basic formula of lazy writers’ genre shows.

Wizard World Announces 2017 Convention Dates and Cities

So Wizard World released their list of confirmed 2017 dates. There are only sixteen shows on the list, and while it’s still possible they can add more, it’s certainly a much shorter list than, say, 2015’s list of 25 different events. The confirmed 2017 events are as follows:

New Orleans, January 6-8
Portland, February 17-19
Cleveland, March 17-19
St. Louis, April 7-9
Minneapolis, May 5-7
Des Moines, May 19-21
Philadelphia, June 1-4
Sacramento, June 16-18
Albuquerque, July 14-16
Columbus, August 4-6
Orlando, August 11-13
Chicago, August 24-27
Nashville, Sept. 8-10
Madison, September 22-24
Oklahoma City, October 27-29
Austin, Nov. 17-19

Most of these are pretty unsurprising, though we didn’t expect some shows (like Minneapolis) to make the cut for next year. The Madison, WI show has also been moved from the spring to the fall, which will alleviate a pretty crowded convention season in Wisconsin.

Episode 80 – Live at Geek.kon 2016!

This episode of Nerd & Tie was recorded at Geek.kon 2016 at the Madison Marriott West in front of a live studio audience. We’re also continuing our “audio only” streak, because (frankly) it’s easier to set up and tear down at conventions.

We tackle the hard pressing issues this fortnight, like Shatner almost apologizing for Star Trek V, and director Doug Liman moving from the Fox/Marvel Gambit production to DC’s Justice League Dark movie “Dark Universe.” We also cover some lighter fare… like how the reveal that Zendaya’s Spider-Man: Homecoming character is none other than Mary Jane Watson showed us all exactly how many racists we hadn’t weeded out of our Facebook feeds yet.

The CW Seed’s new webseries also looks pretty cool, and (in a pretty weird story) Wizard World Chicago almost let a gun dealer vend.

It’s been a weird couple of weeks.

Wizard World Will Not Allow Gun Dealer to Exhibit, They Swear

So, this was a weird article to write, as the facts literally changed while I was writing it. Wizard World Chicago, which began today and runs through the weekend, is one of the biggest conventions in the midwest. It’s also the center of one of biggest convention controversies at the moment. You see, while most conventions are locking down their weapons policies, banning realistic gun props, and adding additional security, Wizard World Chicago almost let a literal gun dealer exhibit.

The company, DS Arms, arranged their booth through a third party company — where they were classified as a “Fan Car.” That’s a category reserved for, y’know, replicas of famous cars and not gun dealers (so we’re in weird country to start with). While initial reports stated that the dealer was dis-invited from the con, that position was apparently reversed by Wizard World.

And then, just to confuse me more, earlier today that policy was re-reversed, excluding the dealer.

If they had been allowed, DS Arms would have only been selling replica weapons at the event, but they would still have had listings to purchase and order real weapons off the show floor. In many ways it would’ve been a dangerous precedent for the biggest chain of conventions in the country though, opening the door to future firearms dealers.

Fan conventions are very different than gun shows, and the idea that firearms might be purchasable at events like this is, frankly, kind of scary. Cons are primarily entertainment events, and it’s hard enough to deal with sword dealers already in the mix. Disallowing the vendor was, frankly, the best move the company could have taken.

In a weird footnote, on a comment on DS Arms’s Facebook page, the company states they will be at Dragon Con in a few weeks. We’re pretty sure this isn’t true though, as Dragon Con (which is held in Atlanta, GA) does not list DS Arms on their exhibitors and vendors list.

Via Comics Bulletin, Bleeding Cool

Episode 76 – Everything is Terrible

On this episode of Nerd & Tie we discuss the tragic loss of young actor Anton Yelchin, the rather craptastic new fan film guidelines put out for Star Trek by Paramount and CBS, The CW leaving Hulu behind, Tyler Hoechlin’s casting as Superman on Supergirl, the new Ghostbusters theme by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott, and how Wizard World finally came to their senses and cancelled their ridiculous cruise.

And yeah, the video on this version is pretty janky thanks to a software upgrade. We swear we’ll fix it for next time.

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Wizard World Comes to Their Senses, Cancels Cruise Con

Earlier this year, convention juggernaut Wizard World announced that they were going to start a convention on a cruise ship. Scheduled for December 2nd-5th, they were planning to put a full convention on the cruise ship The Norwegian Sky.

Since the initial announcement, the guest line up changed repeatedly (I don’t think anyone was super surprised when Norman Reedus cancelled), but it seemed to be chugging along. The fact that it cost $749 to attend the event though was a major deterrent for a lot of people. Probably too many people.

You see, the Wizard World Cruise is dead in the water.

This week Wizard World quietly announced the convention cancellation on the Cruise’s official website, citing issues with guests schedules as the primary reason. It’s a reason I don’t really buy, mind you, as the event had handled earlier guest cancellations without issue. New guests would have been fairly easy to book for the event.

Frankly (and this is just speculation) this probably has more to do with Wizard World’s ongoing financial issues which led to the resignation of John Macaluso as Wizard World CEO earlier this year. The cruise was a ridiculously expensive proposition, and I’m sure most people balked at the price tag. While geek cruises, like the JoCo Cruise, can work, trying to put an entire Wizard World style convention on a ship was a pretty terrible idea.

Cancelling it is the first real hope I’ve had that Wizard World may finally be making smart financial decisions again.

Via FanCons.com