Botcon 2015 - Attendance Lowest in Years?

Discussion in 'Transformers Conventions and Get Togethers' started by cbff, Jun 21, 2015.

  1. cbff

    cbff Destroyer of Botcon (Retired)

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    So how did everyone enjoy the show? This was the first one I've been to in 7 years, but I still remember 2006, 2007, and 2008 fondly.

    Myself, I had a really good weekend. I ended up getting recruited to work at the Agabyss booth in between RIPT Apparel and TFSource, so if you stopped by and listened to me give my spiel about going across the street to "The Good Dealer Room", it's much appreciated. I loved talking with everyone that stopped by.

    I will say, the attendance was REALLY low. It was very easy to get through the dealer room without bumping into people and most of the General Admissions were pretty much people that cheaped out on getting the Primus or Protoform Packages. So I have no idea how Hasbro is going to measure the success of brand exposure using General Admission numbers like they have in the past. I chalk that up to how far we were from actual Chicago as well as Blackhawk mania sweeping the city.

    I was really looking forward to seeing a bunch of kids in the dealer room to get rid of my low value common stuff, but they never came. I think I seen maybe 20 kids stop by our dealer booth, so I was only able to get rid of a few PCC's and a couple other pieces. So that was disappointing, as I always get a kick out of the kids eyes lighting up when I say they can just have it instead of selling it. So I missed out on that this year, unfortunately.

    Be ready for when Fun Pub gets home, as I don't think ANY of the souvenirs sold out. So if you are in the market for this year's figures, make sure to watch their store in the coming days. I seen a lot of people selling the Pretender for only $120 to $140 at the show, so keep that mind as well if that was the only figure you wanted.

    I'm hoping more members that attended post their own thoughts on this year's show as well. So if you were at Botcon, let everyone know how you thought it went.
     
  2. Onslaught24

    Onslaught24 Stop on red but leave on amber Moderator News Staff

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    Well, I've never been to one before this year so I can't quite say accurately. But I was surprised that there wasn't nearly as many at the convention as I thought. Sure there were lots and lots of people, but I expected there to be not enough seats for everyone in the panel room. Thought it could also have been because the venue was a bit small overall.
     
  3. Motor_Master

    Motor_Master Lets the balls touch

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    It'll be interesting to hear from more folks who've attended the con regularly in recent years, especially dealers. In the past it wasn't uncommon to have the club posting "Registration is XX%" sold out, but this year I saw none of that, not even a sell out on tickets to meet Frank Welker. Could be I just missed it.
     
  4. Weirdwolf

    Weirdwolf TFYLP Podcast Founder TFW2005 Supporter

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    I was there, and aside from the obvious cell jamming going on and pay-to-use WiFi, I had a great time. Great time with great people, Making new connections.
     
  5. Shockwave76

    Shockwave76 Decepticon

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    I've only been to one other (2013), but I thought this year was much better. Everything seemed more organized and the panels were much more interesting. It was great seeing old friends again and meeting new ones. I also really enjoyed all of the guests and the dealer room. It was also really nice to be out of the city and not have to worry about horrible traffic or finding a parking space.
     
  6. Grimlockimus

    Grimlockimus Wot?

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    Granted this is my first Botcon so I can't exactly compare it to the great show they did in nineteen seventy what not or whatever. But from what I experienced it was a pretty decent show that, like any Con, had some bumps along the way but was still worth going to.

    However there were some pretty big issues this year. The main one being the venue. The hotel itself was pretty nice, room was decent and pretty spacious, but the fact the Mega Center/Dealer Room was separate from the main building was pretty bad. Granted it's only a matter of walking like, ten feet from the hotel building to get there but naturally people will line up early for things and that line would just so happen to be right in the way of cars and trucks trying to get around the parking lot and golf course. So you'd be in line and have to move out of the way for a car, and get back in line. Thankfully it didn't rain during any of this.

    And I agree about the souvenir thing. Not sure what their counts are now but it seems like they were getting desperate to sell them all during the show, even removing the limit people could buy the day after the club store originally opened.
     
  7. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    The convention itself was okay, but the numbers were definitely significantly down from previous years... even San Diego in 2013 which seemed to be the one that FunPub staff were stressing about over its low turnout.
    The walk-in line on Saturday looked to be barely 100 people, when previous years it would be a few hundred queuing up ready for the 10am start.
    Inside the dealer room is where you noticed the difference... in previous years I would take photos of the Dealer room after it had just closed on Sunday (with people still leaving and the dealers packing up) to show the difference to the photos taken during the convention hours, and this year most of my photos during the convention hours looked like those photos after the show from previous years... it was that empty.
    Another sign of a low turnout is seeing a lot of dealers already packing up at around 2pm on the Sunday, instead of 3.30pm when the show closes because you still have a heap of people looking for things to buy.

    As for the at-show BotCon toys, nothing sold out, and I was told by one of the staff that there was a lot of each left over... so maybe expect some sales on their website store soon.
    (it wasn't a good sign seeing a notice first thing Friday morning saying that people could buy unlimited amounts of any at-show toys, when it is something they only allow on Saturday after they've served the people queued up at the start of the day)
    I think this was my first year of the Golden Ticket that I didn't need to buy the full triple amount that we were allowed to buy (for me to take back to other Australians), because I just didn't have enough interest this year for the toys to need more than 2 or 3 of each.

    They mentioned that there were more dealers than ever before, but I'm not sure if that's true, or if there was more dealer tables bought this year, as it didn't feel like there were more actual dealers there this year.
    I felt bad for the Hartmans, as they would have made a lot more money if there had been a better turnout, as they were discounting heavily to sell a bulk of their items.

    I think if they didn't have Frank Welker this year, the turnout would have been really bad. His panel looked to have the biggest attendance (even more than the Hasbro panel, which is usually the biggest), and they still didn't fill out the Panel Room that they had hoped for. (they were still advertising the VIP tickets throughout the Saturday as they hadn't sold out)

    I think my favorite panel was Kojin Ono, with heaps of pre-Transformers images that have never been seen before.
    John Moschitta was the most entertaining guest this year, while the Frank Welker panel was good for being the first people to see him at a convention, but it only lasted 30 minutes.
     
  8. uruseiranma

    uruseiranma Well-Known Member

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    I also feel the resort's proximity to anything convenient was definitely a negative.

    A friend of mine attended the last Chicago-based Botcon in 2004, when it was at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. That location is pretty convenient (the nearby Hyatt hosted TFCon's Chicago show last fall).

    I think when it comes to figure, I'm rather choosy. I've only ever splurged for the 2011 boxset out of nostalgia and coolness (TF:Animated AND Stunticons!?).

    I was really surprised when they had the filmfest...and relayed that noone submitted anything!

    The Ono panel was definitely a highlight, notably in seeing pictures of early prototypes done in wood (and Optimus' original Diaclone vehicle form was as a car carrier).

    I think the majority of the con's funds went to securing Frank Welker, but that's just me being pie-in-the-sky. If anyone wondered who that guy was who asked him about voicing Steven Spielberg on Tiny Toons, that was me...so for 10 seconds, Frank and I made contact...and it was AWESOME!!

    John Moschitta was also a fun storyteller. In a way, he reminded me a little of John De Lancie. Moschitta definitely had some fun stories to tell, and I did get to ask him a little about his Micro Machines man parody on Robot Chicken, where even he asked Seth Green, 'can we get away with this?'

    Sunday on the dealer room floor was just bare. I pretty much had gotten everything I wanted the 2 days before (Generations Arcee & Chromia, MP Wheeljack & Bumblebee). The funniest thing was, I couldn't find any loose Blurr's, except one for $20. Naturally, the carded ones were pushing upwards of $40.

    After some great experiences with Captured Prey at Botcon 2013 and TFCon 2014, it was neat to see the guys again...and hear them just wig out over Portillo's italian beef.

    My biggest thing when it comes to conventions, is that I won't buy just anything: it has to be something rare, or that I can't find at a reasonable price. Big Bad's Arcee was around $30, and Chromia $15...but their 'while supplies last' sale, allowed me to get both for $35 (which I figured split to $17.50 each, would be what I would have paid for them had I found them in stores!).

    There was quite a lot of 3rd party postings on the message board there, but I just wasn't feeling the need (one guy even offered me a Gray Quakewave for $100...almost got me, as I would love to have 'not-Shockwave' with my MP Decepticons). The one thing I kept asking and looking for, were add-on accessories for Grimlock to give him a flame sword and flame breath. Noone seemed to have it until I walked into one room and found 'The King of Fire' add-on...one of the easiest no-brainer purchases...$20 and it was all over :p 
     
  9. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    Yes, that was surprising to me too... as was the smaller amount of art contest entries and people in fully detailed robot costumes this year... I only saw one on the Sunday.
     
  10. DarkWarGrimlock

    DarkWarGrimlock Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't as big as I thought it was and there wasn't a lot to do (That made it easy for me to do everything I wanted). As I just started seriously collecting last year and this was my first BotCon, I bought a lot. I think I looked ridiculous carrying all of those boxes and bags everywhere.

    I got a sweet video for my friend from Derrick J. Wyatt, Alex Milne sketched Drift (One of my favorite characters) into my Drift HC, and I found a lot of the toys I was looking for and felt I got decent prices on most of them (Even if I had to go to a crowded, sweaty hotel room to get a third-party figure). Actually, I want to speak about the hypocrisy of the "third party" ban. One booth had a TON of bootleg Lego, but no one ever cracked down on that. So, IP infringing products of OTHER brands are okay, as long as it isn't Hasbro's? It's just not consumer friendly.

    Anyway, I had a good time even if the person I planned on going with couldn't make it. There were a few disappointments. Script reading needed more Blurr, the Hasbro panel was pretty meh barring Sky-Lynx, and I could barely find ANY Kre-O barring the same common blindbags (Preview, Wave 1, 3, 4 were plentiful, but NO Wave 2 or AOE Wave 2). Also, I thought the paint apps on the con Kre-O were really bad. Sentinel Prime in particular looked like a mediocre fan custom (The sort I'd end up making and being very dissatisfied with).
     
  11. Onslaught24

    Onslaught24 Stop on red but leave on amber Moderator News Staff

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    I didn't even see a way to submit art or films. I would've submitted at least a piece of art.
     
  12. TransfanG1

    TransfanG1 Well-Known Member

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    My biggest complaint was the lack of direction in certain areas. The GT reception for instance, if I didn't luck into seeing a couple I had bumped into earlier in the day heading to it, I don't know if I ever would have found it. One of the Fun Pub guys sent me over towards the Mega Center which it was nowhere near. That and I thought it was dumb for them to include ONLY a photo with Frank with the GT because if you bought the GT and the Welker VIP you had two photos. Who would want two photos? Why not give you the option of a photo OR an auto if you purchased the VIP?
     
  13. allew

    allew Well-Known Member

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    My nephew and I enjoyed the convention. The highlight was probably meeting Mr. Welker and getting pictures with him as well autographs. Super friendly and cool guy he seemed like he was having fun!

    Just couldn't really spend any time in the dealer room while waiting in line for autographs. It was also great to meet Mr. Ono (loved Diaclone panel) and John Moschitta for the 1st time and it's always a blast seeing Sue Blu and Derrick Wyatt again.

    The resort, though an hour's drive from Chicago proper was nice and for us bedbug and odor free! Didn't get a chance to try the swimming pools/hot tub, golfing or to hang out around the fire pit.

    Although the toys didn't sell out I thought they were spectacular this year and filled in many holes in the collection - unreleased, G2, Diaclone. Hopefully we'll see a Flywheels as a future club figure - if he could have somehow replaced SG Stepper in the boxset though as the "loose cannon" (I know how would everything fit in the box with three voyager sized figures?) then it would have taken it over the top! Custom class figure was fun to put together and the colors were striking on an Optimus mold.

    Luckily the thunderstorms didn't affect us flying into/going out of the airport. Was able to drive into Chicago on Wednesday after arriving at O Hare to go for an architectural river cruise with fireworks at the end, Thursday evening for a visit to the 103rd floor of the Willis (Sears) tower and Sunday (skipped the last day of the show) to go to the Chicago Field Museum before heading home. All of those activities I'd recommend for any visitor.

    Hope everyone has a safe trip back!
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  14. dragon516

    dragon516 Well-Known Member

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    Been to seven of these since 09 including this year and finally I think going to Botcon will be coming to an end. 2013 and 2014 was in Cali so I made excuses for myself to go. 2015 I was pretty set on not going but wife convinced me that I should. Loved seeing the Kohjin panel and getting him to autograph some stuff. Lurked around the dealer room and got some interesting pieces.

    The at con exclusives were not bad but maybe due to artifact of crappier molds from Hasbro in general and these toys coming from said crappy molds made it feel very overpriced. The Roadbuster, Scoop,Skids and Hoist molds all were not my favorites on retail release, thus making the elevated price tags even harder to swallow.The Waruders were great looking though to their defense. I think overall there is just a saturation of toys and increase in prices that finally broke the camel's back for me. Its not cheap to get there and the experience hasn't been the same. The number of dealers was more than in most though I feel. But sales didn't look like it was exactly flowing...
     
  15. Big Filipino

    Big Filipino John 3:16-17 says it all

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    After speaking with one of the FP staff members, I got the impression that they were very happy with the Sat walk in attendance. They estimated it to be close to 500+. While he acknowledged that it's not a Pasadena type number, it was still very good.
     
  16. Deceptigtar

    Deceptigtar Sworn Decepticon Assassin

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    There deff didn't seem as many ppl as previous years as you could walk around with ease and didn't feel the dealer floor was that big which was fine because since 3P was not allowed, although everyone put there's out on Sunday, all the booths looked like they were selling the same current stuff. Combiner wars everywhere.

    Sure there were some cool small booths bit after walking around for a bit it all became a blur.
     
  17. Wreckgar

    Wreckgar Anthony Stark Moderator

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    I went for the first time in a decade and had a decent time. I was not happy with the hour travel from the city but at least I didn't have that mess of train/train/shuttle.

    Spent to much money, did general admission and was fine. I got the one exclusive I wanted along with a ton of other stuff. Scored my G1 Getaway, which is the only figure I was actively seeking. Got to really friend some artists besides the ones I knew and made good business connections.

    I thought it was a well run show but the venue definitely hurt it.
     
  18. Sean Whitmore

    Sean Whitmore Well-Known Member

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    The filmfest thing really surprised me. If I'd been able to attend this year, I definitely would have made a submission (doing so has been one of my favorite parts of past Botcons), but I would have felt mighty awkward being the only entrant.
     
  19. G.B. Blackrock

    G.B. Blackrock Autobot Ally

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    The BotCon PR machine was definitely sleeping this year, compared to last. It may be that Pete simply had too much to do in other areas, but the BotCon site itself was typically updated throughout the weekend of a convention, and there was absolutely none of that this year. Anything that happened at all, apparently happened on Twitter, and as you've already said, it didn't cover hyping the exclusivity (i.e., fear of selling out) of the toys that we've seen in the past.

    ---
    As far as why this year may have had a lower turnout than other years, my thoughts (recognizing these are from someone who didn't attend this year) is that both the distant venue and the late pre-registration were both major factors. I don't know which one was the greater problem, but together they definitely made things a lot harder for folks to attend.

    The buzz I'm hearing is that the venue, itself, was actually very good. Once you deal with actually getting there, I'm told it was one the best venues BotCon's ever had. That's probably worth a recognition, but I do still feel that it's better to have a convenient location than to have a great venue that's harder to get to.
     
  20. Judgment Day

    Judgment Day Energon Extractor No.533

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    Yeah, the connection was bad inside the dealer room, but once you got to the other areas, it was cool. Plus, you didn't have to pay for WiFi, as the establishment's WiFi connection's password as super easy to guess (or should I say "guest") once you knew what it was.

    It wasn't the worst I've seen - at the Motor City ComiCon, it was so bad, me and one of the dealers literally had to leave the convention building to get a connection to complete my credit card transaction.