GAME CHANGER! Wizard world retrenches, Major policy changes
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Wizard world has made some major policy changes,  LONG OVERDUE and very welcome 

I have posted Many times that Booth inflation is hurting shows,   

If anyone but me has noticed, the shows where the booths are under $1000  seem to be better comic shows (with some exceptions) 

While the shows where the booth price go north of $1,000 tend to have fewer comic dealers, and the comic buyers are fading away

Speaking personally there are some shows I wanted to do, but the booth prices just made it too hard to make it profitable 

Wizard world has announced a fantastic return to tradition 

1) Booth prices with the exception of Chicago are now $500 

2) Placement is first pay , 1st choice, 

3) No more premium placement for extra fees, 

4) no more discounts for multiple shows

For those of you who are not dealers that's more then a 50% price cut  

 

So what does this Mean 

1) A lot more comic dealers both 1st timers and long timers are going to sign on which is going to mean a revitialization 

    of a lot of shows with new and returning dealers

2) HOPEFULLY  SOME OF THE EVENT ORGANIZERS WILL NOTE AND START TO FOLLOW SUIT . 

put simply, High booth prices force comic dealers to make hard choices , and result in fewer comic dealers which lead to diminishing

attendance 

 

GOOD FOR WW !  outstanding strategy change

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So they’re putting admission to the shows on sale, and now they’re radically dropping booth prices. I wonder what will be next. 

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Cutting admission prices works and I don't consider $60 for the show admission on sale, I consider it CORRECT

 40-50$ dollars for a days admission locks out a lot of people . 

 Its the frog in the pot theory' these prices have been creeping up so long no one noticed until it   seemed like $120 for a 4 day pass was "Normal" 

For way too long  it seemed  that the operative theory is that  dealers

   will pay whatever they are charged as they have no choice, 

  Booth prices increases have far exceeded inflation and are now taken as a given (Exceptions noted and appreciated) 

  That's why I call this a game changer , Someone actually knows what the Laffer curve is, and made a great choice 

  The next logical step is to take a long hard look and see if bringing in all this expensive "Star" talent is worth it

Return to Sanity!  Credit where credit is due , Wizard has taken a chance,  and made a substantive and VERY LONG OVERDUE CHANGE  

  

 

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A giant convention hall in a major city costs money. Professionals to run a good show cost money. Travel, etc, for all those people cost money. Pipe & drape, tables and chairs, etc, to put on a professional looking show cost money. I doubt any of those are being discounted to Wizard. 

Any giant show that is going to bring in 10,000+ attendees is not doing that with comics. The celebrities bring those people in the door, and most of those attendees would be surprised that comics are still a thing (we often get clueless folks who accidentally wander into the comic section of the vendor floor looking at the booth in disbelief). Dealers at giant shows get to see the hundreds of buyers that will come to those large shows because of a guest list that will draw tens of thousands. Dealers benefit from the economics of scale that come from larger shows. 

If Wizard is slashing booth prices, my guess is that they are doing so because they’re in serious trouble. If it was the “right” price they would have charged it 5 years ago and most of their shows wouldn’t have chased dealers away. Raising booth rates on dealers that had poor sales was not an excellent business strategy. 

I’ve heard that Wizard demanded payment last week from dealers interested in a Chicago booth. The same dealer who told me this had paid the booth fee at the show for years prior. They’ve done the show over a decade, and this is the first time that the booth fee was demanded months ahead of the show. Coincidence?

Wizard used to be the only game in town for celeb shows, and those benefits of large attendance trickled down to dealers (at least at some shows). Now other shows have outdone Wizard on the celeb side, and they’re not able to compete. This price slashing is not a good sign for Wizard as an ongoing business.  

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1 hour ago, mysterio said:

If Wizard is slashing booth prices, my guess is that they are doing so because they’re in serious trouble. If it was the “right” price they would have charged it 5 years ago and most of their shows wouldn’t have chased dealers away. Raising booth rates on dealers that had poor sales was not an excellent business strategy. 

I’ve heard that Wizard demanded payment last week from dealers interested in a Chicago booth. The same dealer who told me this had paid the booth fee at the show for years prior. They’ve done the show over a decade, and this is the first time that the booth fee was demanded months ahead of the show. Coincidence?

Wizard used to be the only game in town for celeb shows, and those benefits of large attendance trickled down to dealers (at least at some shows). Now other shows have outdone Wizard on the celeb side, and they’re not able to compete. This price slashing is not a good sign for Wizard as an ongoing business.  

Didn’t that contradict yourself in saying Wizard is not doing their job properly? Which one ... raise the booth rates or price slashing? :S

And to bring up the topic of Wizard as a company itself, didn’t we have read the news about how bad their stocks were in investment? 

I have been told by many comic dealers that they don’t like high prices on booth tables, not making much money at the end and at same time having to add costs on books to make up the difference. I am not sure how much each dealer actually made at the end, it varies by each individual.

the question of price slashing depends to whom benefits from that, for Wizard or for the vendors in the show? Or both altogether?

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Fan Boy said:

Didn’t that contradict yourself in saying Wizard is not doing their job properly? Which one ... raise the booth rates or price slashing? :S

And to bring up the topic of Wizard as a company itself, didn’t we have read the news about how bad their stocks were in investment? 

I have been told by many comic dealers that they don’t like high prices on booth tables, not making much money at the end and at same time having to add costs on books to make up the difference. I am not sure how much each dealer actually made at the end, it varies by each individual.

the question of price slashing depends to whom benefits from that, for Wizard or for the vendors in the show? Or both altogether?

I meant it in the past tense, Wizard has had a history of raising booth rates in previous years even when their attendance was in decline. Even their small shows in Des Moines had booth rates over $1000 with attendance well below their bigger shows like NO or Chicago. To put that into perspective, last time I checked Chicago had a $1500 booth fee for a large four day show. Wizard's other shows simply weren't paying out for those exorbitant booth rates.

The only reason for a company to drop fees this precipitously is because they aren't getting anyone to buy those booths at full price. They haven't kept up with the Joneses who have basically taken the Wizard model of huge celebrity shows and started doing them better with bigger names.

Name a dealer who would be happy about a high booth price. Dealers do shows to make money. Inventory costs money. Their time and travel costs money. Hotels, food, all of it costs money. Tack a high booth fee onto that, and dealers have to make a lot in sales just to break even. A respected dealer on here said they need to make a minimum of 5x expenses to make a show worthwhile. If a booth in Des Moines is costing you $1000, plus all the other expenses, how confident are you that you'll make $10,000 to make that show worthwhile?

What other reason would you suggest Wizard would have for slashing their booth rates? Don't they like making money?

Edited by mysterio

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As far as wizard demanding payment 

It has been a standard practice of theirs that when booth placement begins, that only dealers who are paid in

full will be placed. which makes sense. This is not new, that's been the way it works for every show for as long as I've been doing their shows.  

 

   Keep in mind, I am no fan of WW the booth price escalation has kept me from trying a lot of their new shows. 

  Look at philly, should be a MAJOR show, but there are FAR fewer dealers then there should be

who cares what movie people show up?, great, 2,000 more non comic people show up, and 2,000 comic buyers don't bother, because who wants to pay $50 a ticket for 20 comic dealers !  

 And yes having a super celebrity in does draw crowds but NOT comic buyers  

I did the Ace comicon in  NY 2 years ago with Godot, Cavill and many others, and it was a massacre for every dealer there 

You could have played Hockey in the aisles on Saturday afternoon 

As a vendor who is doing 12 Larger shows this this year, My calculations  are thus: 

Focus on Big Names + Inflated Booth prices and High Ticket prices  to pay for those big Names = Less comic Vendors which Leads to Less comic attendees locked i in a downward , Spiral which wizard is QUITE CORRECTLY trying to remedy. 

Reasonable booth fees + Focus on comic Guests (IE East Coast, Terrificon, Heroes con, etc) = HUGE attendance and A vigerous marketplace. 

 

Maybe its Just me But I am so sick of paying 4 figure booth fees , only to have crowds of people walk by with their children Giggling at comic prices, and going Hey Look at that ! Captain Marvel has a comic Book Whooda thunked it .

ALL  My best shows this year without exception Had Lower booth prices and focus on COMIC guests without some Movie anchor

Look for me in Morristown this week !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I will definitely look for that booth this Saturday!

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mysterio, I see what you mean ... got it.  Thanks.  Still, let’s see how their new trick plays out with the comic dealers reactions about price slashing. 

I had one local dealer in Fan Expo Vancouver show here last year, told me what he paid for his booth. Approximately $1600 Canadian for 2.5 days length. He did made enough money overall to justify the booth rate but he wasn’t exactly thrilled about the booth rates like that. I get the same generally response from other dealers. They said it is more when it is involved with hotel/food/parking expenses. If they are in their home city where a major comic con took place ... it is cheaper than go to a city elsewhere. I can see why.  So... yes, about 5x times minimum to make a good tidy at the end. 

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Wizard's stock (Ticker: WIZD) has been trading in the $0.05 to $0.20 range since last October.  Today is June 24th, and they still have ZERO guests listed on their website for WW Chicago.  In years past the website would be overflowing with confirmed guests two months out from showtime.  And its not just Chicago, just about every CY 2019 show has not had its guest list posted until the last minute.

To echo @mysterio, this newfound price drop isn't some stroke of marketing genius.  Wizard and its parent company are absolutely, 100% DESPERATE.  Word of mouth over the past few years has been that their shows keep getting worse, and the last time I went to WW Chicago (2017), I covered the comic dealers in the span of four hours.  About three of which I spent between Metropolis, Dale, and the Reeces.  By comparison, the dealer aisles at C2E2 could consume all three days. 

Clearly we're at a point where a significant number of people aren't buying into what Wizard selling.

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At last minute to list the guests before show time...?  That, is something I don’t like, and which makes my decision a difficult thing. I like to know who is on guest list first before I buy a ticket. I do go for to buy comics but I also like to meet comic artists and writers of my favourite books I read, also to get sketches from the artists as well. 

I wonder what the local comic dealers are thinking of the WW Chicago Show this year, I am curious anyway. Worse than the 2017 or 2018 past shows? I know that the C2E2 shows have been doing well, does that makes the Wizard company nervous?

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6 hours ago, Fan Boy said:

At last minute to list the guests before show time...?  That, is something I don’t like, and which makes my decision a difficult thing. I like to know who is on guest list first before I buy a ticket. I do go for to buy comics but I also like to meet comic artists and writers of my favourite books I read, also to get sketches from the artists as well. 

I wonder what the local comic dealers are thinking of the WW Chicago Show this year, I am curious anyway. Worse than the 2017 or 2018 past shows? I know that the C2E2 shows have been doing well, does that makes the Wizard company nervous?

You’d think the Wizard people would be happy that C2E2 is succeeding since it shows the area is a robust market for comics and entertainment (not that big of a revelation since Chicago has millions of inhabitants in and around).  The shows are far enough apart (4-5 months) that Wizard should be angling to attract those same fans.

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Posted (edited)

Unfortunately Its not just C2e2 , You are correct, the shows are far enough apart and different enough in character so that both could be viable 

 You also have Ace  AND  Comic revolution in the mix now, Meaning 4  Large shows in Chicago in a six month  period, 3 of them in the Stephans center , Ace has already Announced  Brie Larson 4 months out.  Attendees and dealers have to make choices  The majority of Dealers and Attendees are not going to all 4, which means dealers such as myself need to make choices , 

 Even though there are now 4 shows in Chicago, WW is still charging the booth rate as though  it was 10 years ago and their Chicago show  was a must attend major event . Its not, Its still a good show, BUT  Too many other  options for dealers and a fragmented fan base 

  That's why I started this post, Cutting the attendance ticket to $60 for 4 days, was a good strategy and a Necessary one. Cutting the Booth rates was a good strategy and a necessary one. They are adapting to changing circumstances. Now they NEED to cut the booth rate for Chicago as well, which I suspect they will be doing after this year, that will re-invigorate the show and give it a fresh start. 

 

 As far as this year, The dealers Steak dinner Get together has been cancelled, THAT should be a Huge red flag right there 

Again I am not a Wizard acolyte nor do I have any particular grudge against them. I look at things strictly from a business perspective from that standpoint their new policy was an excellent decision. You Know the old saying "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of Insanity"  Well WW has acknowledged that their old formula had to change , and they did. 

Edited by Golden Memories

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ACE is showing their prowess by moving the show away from Navy Pier and out to Rosemont.  Navy Pier is an awful venue for a comic show.  

One boardie reported they were short on dealers last year, but if they can start attracting them in significant numbers, they could give Wizard a beating.

The Revolution show is hard to take serious when it’s only 2 days. 

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33 minutes ago, mattn792 said:

ACE is showing their prowess by moving the show away from Navy Pier and out to Rosemont.  Navy Pier is an awful venue for a comic show.  

One boardie reported they were short on dealers last year, but if they can start attracting them in significant numbers, they could give Wizard a beating.

The Revolution show is hard to take serious when it’s only 2 days. 

Didn’t know that the Navy Pier is a bad venue, not that I’ve never been in Chicago before (well, I did land at O’Hara airport in changing planes but didn’t count). So.. to all Chicago locals ... is Navy Pier really a bad location and for what reasons why it is that?

Now with Wizard and their price slashing ... when it do take effect, I am curious in what the comic vendors say to that?

  

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31 minutes ago, Fan Boy said:

Didn’t know that the Navy Pier is a bad venue, not that I’ve never been in Chicago before (well, I did land at O’Hara airport in changing planes but didn’t count). So.. to all Chicago locals ... is Navy Pier really a bad location and for what reasons why it is that?

Now with Wizard and their price slashing ... when it do take effect, I am curious in what the comic vendors say to that?

  

Navy Pier is not ideal due to the difficulty in parking, plus you’re driving through awful downtown traffic to get there. Not sure about nearby accommodations, but they can’t be cheap either. 

If Wizard doesn’t discount Chicago it won’t matter in terms of attracting dealers. 

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1 hour ago, mattn792 said:

ACE is showing their prowess by moving the show away from Navy Pier and out to Rosemont.  Navy Pier is an awful venue for a comic show.  

One boardie reported they were short on dealers last year, but if they can start attracting them in significant numbers, they could give Wizard a beating.

The Revolution show is hard to take serious when it’s only 2 days. 

Ace seems to be focused on celebs, which is fine, but I wouldn’t expect that to translate into good sales for dealers. If folks are spending hundreds (if not over a grand) on photos and autos then they aren’t buying books or anything else. 

I remain convinced that sooner or later someone will do a vendor free show. Yes, having vendors helps pay for the venue, but I have no doubt there is some formula to be just as profitable without them. 

I find the model of the Torpedo pre-SDCC show really fascinating. Premiere shopping from top dealers with significantly less expense and hassle. If someone could work out that sort of model in other cities it’d be spectacular. Inexpensive tables for dealers and a great batch of buyers wanting to spend money. The issue is putting that together in any other place and convincing everyone (dealers and buyers) to go. The draw of SDCC a few days later gives that Torpedo show a huge (and probable singular) edge in those regards. 

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3 minutes ago, mysterio said:

Ace seems to be focused on celebs, which is fine, but I wouldn’t expect that to translate into good sales for dealers. If folks are spending hundreds (if not over a grand) on photos and autos then they aren’t buying books or anything else. 

I remain convinced that sooner or later someone will do a vendor free show. Yes, having vendors helps pay for the venue, but I have no doubt there is some formula to be just as profitable without them. 

I find the model of the Torpedo pre-SDCC show really fascinating. Premiere shopping from top dealers with significantly less expense and hassle. If someone could work out that sort of model in other cities it’d be spectacular. Inexpensive tables for dealers and a great batch of buyers wanting to spend money. The issue is putting that together in any other place and convincing everyone (dealers and buyers) to go. The draw of SDCC a few days later gives that Torpedo show a huge (and probable singular) edge in those regards. 

I completely agree, ACE would need to tweak their business model for it to become a major attraction for comic vendors, and I doubt that will happen.  They’re probably doing just fine as is by booking all the major superhero movie celebrities.  And the move to Rosemont should only increase attendance.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, mattn792 said:

I completely agree, ACE would need to tweak their business model for it to become a major attraction for comic vendors, and I doubt that will happen.  They’re probably doing just fine as is by booking all the major superhero movie celebrities.  And the move to Rosemont should only increase attendance.

Yep. There is room for different kinds of conventions, clearly. The key is figuring out the best situation to maximize dealer and buyer participation. Dealers will go where they can make money, and buyers will go where they can buy books. If either is traveling a long distance it must be worthwhile. It is a classic "chicken or egg" situation in terms of figuring out new shows or types of shows. WW Chicago benefitted from the tradition of the Chicago Comicon, but if Wizard slips out of its preeminent situation for books in Chicago I am left to wonder if someone jumps into that spot or whether all the top tier comic-centric shows will be on the coasts.

Edited by mysterio

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29 minutes ago, mysterio said:

 

I find the model of the Torpedo pre-SDCC show really fascinating. Premiere shopping from top dealers with significantly less expense and hassle. If someone could work out that sort of model in other cities it’d be spectacular. Inexpensive tables for dealers and a great batch of buyers wanting to spend money. The issue is putting that together in any other place and convincing everyone (dealers and buyers) to go. The draw of SDCC a few days later gives that Torpedo show a huge (and probable singular) edge in those regards. 

I also find that as well you do with the model idea of Torpedo pre-SDCC Show. I thought it is fascinating given that I could avoid the hassles of navigating thru traffic of all attendees in SDCC if I were in there. Just comics to browse and find some of nicer books to buy. 

I am waiting for someone to adapt the Torpedo idea to do with other shows ... like say, at Calgary Comic and Entertainment Con? Canada Fan Expo? ... or ECCC?  A little one day pre-comic con show would benefit to vendors as extras to their usual convention venues. 

I’m waiting for that... :baiting:

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