Tag Archives: Wizard World

Episode 111 – Just Three Turkeys

On this episode of Nerd & Tie, we start by discussing how Nobuhiro Watsuki, creator of Rurouni Kenshin, has been charged with possession of child pornography. After we all feel gross for a few minutes, we move on to the details surrounding the Lord of the Rings television series in the works at Amazon, Rian Johnson tackling his own Star Wars trilogy, and convention chain Wizard World’s financial woes.

Oh, and we all went to Daisho Con, and it was awesome.

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Wizard World May Not Be Able to Continue After 2018 Without Major Changes

Convention chain Wizard World has had a rocky few years, and things certainly haven’t gotten better. The latest “bad news” comes in their 2017 third quarter report, where the company has warned that there is “substantial doubt” that they can continue with their current model after November of 2018.

As reported by Newsarama, Wizard World, Inc stated:

The Company had a loss from operations of $4,454,857 and $1,182,246 for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 and the year ended December 31, 2016, respectively. As of September 30, 2017, we had cash and working capital deficit (excluding the derivative liability) of $1,176,034 and $1,514,182, respectively. […] We have evaluated the significance of these conditions in relation to our ability to meet our obligations and have concluded that, due to these conditions, there is substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern through November 2018.

Over the last few years the company has seen some major losses, and the company has drastically shrunk the number of cons they run (from 25 in 2015 to a planned 17 in 2018). But that rapid expansion had a cost, over saturating the market. I mean, they almost ran a con on a boat at one point.

One of the only reasons the convention has survived this long is because Chairman Paul Kesller infused $2.475 million in a deal with his financial firm Bristol. The company says they may be looking for similar, external measures to keep going, but without some internal changes (to bring in more profit), it’s like bailing water without plugging the leak.

Via Newsarama

Episode 108 – Not Quite Drift Compatible

On this episode of Nerd & Tie we talk about Amazon developing new TV shows based on Snow Crash, Ringworld and Lazarus to start. We also talk about the new trailer for Pacific Rim: Uprising, how the Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie is still happening, Time Lord Expo getting cancelled just weeks before the con, and the sorry state of Wizard World.

It’s exciting.

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Wizard World “Postpones” All But Two Remaining 2017 Shows

In a press release yesterday, Wizard World announced that they were “postponing” five of their remaining seven 2017 shows. While their Austin and Oklahoma City shows will still take place as scheduled, their events in Biloxi, Peoria, Springfield, Montgomery, and Winston-Salem won’t be taking place this year.

Now a normal person would refer to these events as “cancelled,” but I guess saying they’re “postponed” reads better from a PR perspective.

Considering the financial difficulties Wizard World has had over the last few years, it’s hard to be all that surprised. The money made by the company per-show has been down, and the market has kind of reached a saturation point. In the same release, the company has also announced their 2018 lineup of shows, which currently totals at seventeen (though they also said more shows will be added).

How many of those will actually happen remains to be seen.

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.