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.
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.
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.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.