Editor’s Note: Well it seems in reading a bunch of pieces, I got many facts wrongs. I’ve corrected this piece throughout and noted changes at the end.

This is not so much a con war as a game of con chicken.

Wizard World threw a con in Sacramento a few times (starting in 2014) but it was not their strongest show. Last year it was on their schedule but postponed until 2018. (More here.)

Sacramento was announced for Oct. 5-7 this year, and even had a line-up of pretty good guests, including Tom Felton and Mike Colter. 

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But just yesterday the event was scrapped with barely over 2 weeks to go in a terse FB post, and new dates in 2019 announced:

SACRAMENTO: Our convention, originally scheduled for October 5-7, will be postponed to allow us to present an extraordinary show at Cal Expo next September 20-22, 2019.
**Fans who had previously purchased Sacramento 2018 tickets will receive a full refund as well as a unique code good for a 2-for-1 purchase on any weekend admission for the 2019 Sacramento dates.

While a few reasons were gossiped about for the postponement – construction, etc. – I’m told that in an email to vendors Wizard World said they were concerned about advertising the show enough and did not want to present a subpar show for vendors, a fairly frank and upfront statement.

Also, the non record-setting showings this weekend at Keystone and Fandemic may have played a part. Maybe this con balloon has been deflated for real.

BUT let’s thicken this plot a bit: when WW originally announced a schedule without a 2018 show in Sacramento, former WW head John Macaluso moved in with a Sacramento show with the first Fandemic. As soon as Fandemic moved in, WW announced they would be moving back in…but had to postpone it on short notice in a much softer market for comic cons. Wizard World was last held in Sacramento from 2014 until last year. and for the 2018 show they moved from the convention center (Where Fandemic was held) to the Cal Expo, a smaller venue.

The local press was sad. But Wizard World itself is moving on briskly with an Austin event this weekend and Madison WI at the end of November and kicking off the 2019 con schedule with Wizard World New Orleans in the very first weekend of the year!

I think we are finally seeing an end to the proliferation of comic cons, especially by fly by night outfits that are in it for a buck. Enough bad ones have been thrown and consumers and just as important VENDORS are learning that not all cons are created equal. Local, authentic and passion driven events – and those thrown by professional quality outfits like CCI, ReedPOP, LEftfield, MAD Events and a few more –  will always be superior and will win out in the long run. Just my own opinion! But what do YOU think?

Editor’s note: This story originally incorrectly stated that Wizard World was last held in Sacramento in 2014, and that no show was held there in 2017. In fact, Wizard World Sacramento was held as scheduled, June 16-18, 2017. The Beat regrets the errors. 

 

 

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Does anyone other than Wizard World cancel events with so little notice?

    If not, how do they keep getting away with it? It’s been 10 years since the last-minute cancellation of WWLA that opened the door for both Long Beach & Comikaze, and I’m astonished that Wizard keeps managing to get people to commit to their shows *and* keeps cancelling them.

  2. Wizard World has a bunch of problems all on its own.

    But I don’t think overbreeding is the only problem facing conventions. It’s that fandom has broken up into all these little fiefdoms. We have so many genre shows now but their individual audiences are so tiny.

    Let’s put it this way. Back in the 80s, you could bring Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig to your show year after year after year because there were just so damn many Star Trek fans that there would still be some people who hadn’t seen them the third or fourth time around. But if you book Matt Smith or Peter Capaldi three years in a row, you’re going to see a real fall off because the number of people who watch modern Doctor Who is just so much smaller.

    Mike

  3. The Simple fact here is that Northern California does not have the fan base to support conventions anymore . I blame the fact that we no longer have a substantial number of Vendors that actually still sell comics, especially vintage comics. In its place we get B film stars and huge commercial booths for major companies no one gives a crap about. Couple this with the endless street artists with booth’s selling crapt prints of artwork that they don’t own (no one wants a drawing portrait print of Gal Gadot as WW that you just ripped off from a photo shoot). Its all small time vendors and hacks.

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