As much as I love going to conventions, sometimes it seems as though we’re oversaturated with them, at least in some locations. Between the big anime conventions, multiple Wizard Worlds, and a growing number of conventions using the Comic Con name, attendees in convention-heavy areas are having to pick just a few events a year out of the ever-growing options.
Perhaps that is why Wizard World is seeing dwindling returns on its events, leading to the cancellation of six of its 25 planned conventions.
After seeing a loss in $4.25 million in 2015, the convention giant has removed a handful of events and reduced its investment in ConTV. Average revenue per event in 2014 was $1.36 million, but in 2015, each show took a significant hit and dropped to an average of $916,000 per show. ConTV alone, a streaming channel with a convention focus, has cost Wizard World around $1.3 million in losses, causing WW to reduce its holding to 10 percent.
That said, Wizard World still has plenty of conventions to come, with 19 events in 17 cities, plus a cruise. Cities that will continue to host Wizard World events are: Minneapolis, Des Moines, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Columbus, Chicago, Richmond, Austin, Tulsa, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Portland, Cleveland, St. Louis, Orlando, Nashville, Reno, and Madison.
There are a few possible reasons for the loss in profits. The most likely is the aforementioned over-saturation of conventions; last year’s Wizard World San Jose, which will not be returning, was up against several other events on the same weekend, while being set in a location that already hosts multiple comic and anime conventions a year, leaving attendees split between events. People simply can’t afford to go to every convention a year, so cons that are more cost-heavy such as Wizard World will often take lower priority.
Cost could also be a factor. Wizard World events are notoriously expensive just to get in, with anywhere from tens to hundreds of dollars extra to meet guests and get autographs or pictures. As previously mentioned, multiple conventions can put a strain on the wallet, and there is a limit at which the price starts deterring more attendees than the guests can attract.
Regardless of the reason, Wizard World is cutting its losses by cutting the least profitable events, and hopefully less will mean more in this case. A few amazing shows is better than multiple mediocre ones, both in terms of profitability of the convention and enjoyment of the attendees.