OTW Fannews: The fandom business

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  • Fan conventions range from small to large, fan-run to commercial, but increasingly conventions are big business. ICv2 wrote about data from the online ticketing platform Eventbrite. They found “sustained year-over-year growth of 20% or more since 2007…But what’s most interesting is that the dollars generated by cons…[are] in some cases, triple digit revenue increases from 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.” Also interesting is that while “[o]ver half of fandom events on Eventbrite between 2011 and 2013 are categorized as gaming events…anime and comic events drove 70% of gross ticket sales.”
  • Attendance is up so much at some cons that tickets are scarce. As an article in The Examiner pointed out, “Gen Con is having difficulty keeping up with the tremendous growth of its attendees. Thing is, it’s not just limited to Gen Con. The geek population is exploding so quickly that popular events that service all kinds of fandom can no longer keep up.” Writer Michael Tresca suggested that “Gaming event organizers will need to consider investing the money they are raking in from increased fandom back into the convention by expanding the number of days, expanding the number of locations, or holding multiple iterations of the con.”
  • The Beat expanded on the ICv2 piece, discussing how Wizard convention revenues were up 188%, yet Wonder Con hadn’t made enough money for San Francisco, leading to its departure. “It may not be the greatest convention if you operate a five-star hotel or Michelin starred restaurant, or you’re a City Hall lobbyist who represents those types of interests. Whether it’s true or not, the perception is that the heavy geek demographic spends a majority of its disposable income inside the walls of WonderCon.”
  • Some of that disposable income is going to artists, providing an entirely new way to make a living. Newsarama explored how the rise of the appearance fee is turning guests into con employees. “Just a few years ago, the standard was that a convention would fly and hotel a creator, and slide him a free artist alley table as compensation for a con appearance. Now…[r]ates typically start at about $500 on the low end, and can quickly rise to $5000 or $10,000 for top-tier talent…If you want a genuine Dr. Who (Matt Smith) or a lady-killer Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the fee can be $100,000, plus perhaps a few Van Halen-esque riders as well.”

What examples of the changing fandom business have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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