Legion of Sand

Arizona's Guide to conventions and pop culture

Exclusive: Arizona Convention Directors Speak About Current State of Conventions Page 2

Question #2 – Do you believe the pop culture con bubble is about to burst? Is this something that you believe could impact smaller and/or larger conventions?

Mike Olivares – Tucson Comic-Con: I feel like it has already busted and people are adjusting and now choosing which shows they want to attend and exhibit at. Variety is always good, but sometimes over saturation can effect the fan base and leave people feeling thinned out and maybe even a little stressed on having to pick and choose. Even more so for a family the attends conventions regularly.

Crowds were at a recording break high at Phoenix Comicon 2016


John Lester – Game On Expo: I believe as long as a con creates a great experience for the attendees, vendors, and guests, that there will always be a market and interest for people wanting to attend.  Most people, including myself, enjoy attending these cons to hang out with friends and enjoy the overall experience. It’s when a pop culture con loses focus on the show’s identity, where a con can struggle; whether it’s a big or small con.  There will always be an interest in gaming, and as long as that’s the case, Game On Expo will be around.

Matt Solberg – Phoenix Comicon: I don’t believe their will be a “burst” as much as “air being let out of the balloon.”  Fans will always seek ways to celebrate their enjoyment of these genres and conventions like Phoenix Comicon are very much a vacation of sorts, so there will be a need now and in the future.  Any change that happens, and change is happening in this industry all the time, impacts both small and large conventions in how their staff, price, or in what they offer. 


Michael Spadafore – Taiyou Con: I believe that the convention bubble has already burst due to some of the recent trends that we are seeing with larger conventions and smaller conventions alike. While the effects are not something that normal attendees can see, it effects the convention organizers putting on the show. The average person that is not a regular convention attendee expects every convention to be like SDCC, and while having every convention be that big would be nice it is not really possible.

Hal Astell – LepreCon43/Westercon 70: The pop culture con bubble has already burst for opportunists. Anyone aiming to get rich out of it now is going to find that they’ve missed the boat.

However, what Phoenix Comicon has achieved, fueled by mainstream adoption of geekdom, has allowed others to grow in its shadow. That’s not going to stop.

There’s opportunity here for cons which aim to serve niches that PHXCC can’t or won’t. We’re already seeing that. And there’s opportunity for those with goals of fundraising or community outreach, like the little comicons popping up at schools and libraries all over the state. They already have venues so their costs are low and they’re right there in your town.

Greg Fennell – Saboten Con: Not at all, if anything I see the pop culture in my area growing even more.  As Japanese Pop-Culture grows more mainstream in the US, you have seen an explosion in events both large and small throughout the country.  Specific to my industry, I would expect to see this growth increase over the next 5 to 10 years.  The key is going to be for events to not pull attendees in several different directions in attending events that may be too close together both by geography and time.
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