Botcon 2015 - Attendance Lowest in Years?

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

  1. Judgment Day

    Judgment Day Energon Extractor No.533

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    This was the first time I've been since 2007, and even though it was at a drive-able distance, I almost still didn't go....mainly because I just bought a house and car, which literally accumulated to spending well over 50k inside a year. So for anyone thinking that Frank Welker was a pull to bring people in, you could probably chalk me up as one.

    Having said that, this Botcon was pretty good. Looking back, I probably would agree that the attendance was lower than any other year I attended except maybe 2002, but I really wasn't paying attention to that on my visit. As far as the dealers, it was really feast or famine. Stylin' Online did pretty good along with TFSource and a couple of others. Select artists REALLY stepped up their game since the last time I visited. The Chosen Prime had an outstanding setup...I might have to use those ideas when start finishing my basement in a couple of years.

    Other vendors were looking VERY rough - almost like they were an attraction to the convention (like that huge Grimlock in the corner) vs actually selling merchandise. You could call it diluting the product, or maybe not having a merchandise/stock plan to set them apart from the rest, but it was a real paint by numbers selling strategy, which doesn't necessarily work all of the time.

    Also, to whoever mentioned the initial confusing areas, I would have to agree. The biggest culprit was the Golden Ticket reception or whatever it was they were having on Friday. I looked on the back of my badge, and it didn't have a location. Asked the information booth, and they didn't know...so I just grabbed a bite to eat and crashed at the hotel.

    I wouldn't let the bad outweigh the good - it was still a great convention, and Welker being able to take time out of his insane schedule for the first time for many was definitely a moment a lot of us will cherish. Always a live and learn when you do these things - I guess that's why they had a survey this year. Interested in seeing how that went.
     
  2. uruseiranma

    uruseiranma Well-Known Member

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    They instead ran a 'best of,' and your winning vid from the 2011 Botcon was shown...even after 4 years, it's still making audiences laugh (and I tend to watch it yearly).
     
  3. penm

    penm Well-Known Member

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    It was my first Botcon and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I agree that attendance was lower than I expected, from what I had heard from previous years, but I don't think there was a real obvious reason this was the case.

    Location may have been a bit hard to get too, but most of us transformers fans are willing to travel far for these things. Heck, there were even people from overseas like Australia, so there is little the rest of us can complain about. In all, it may just be a marketing issue as I believe there are still lots of fans out there that may not have been aware of what was going on until it was too late. It's the summer break now, so most people may have already planned all their vacation days months ago and couldn't afford to take more time off for this.

    All in all, it was a great convention and I hope I can go to more in the future.
     
  4. Sean Whitmore

    Sean Whitmore Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the kind words!

    I had no idea I'd turned over those movie rights in perpetuity. :)  Not that I mind, they can show all my stuff as much as they want, I'd be thrilled.
     
  5. JLvatron

    JLvatron Transformer

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    Train/shuttle ...wait a sec, you mean Astrotrain! :eek: 


    Oh, I wouldn't have mound being the automatic winner! :) 

    TeeHee-ous! :lol 
     
  6. Shin-Gouki

    Shin-Gouki Retired Admln Veteran

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    From what I've been hearing about the left over product I wonder if they are going to drop the old you can only get it if you bought a Box Set shtick.
     
  7. Hiro Prime

    Hiro Prime Cybertronian Guru Veteran

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    As a dealer who has done every Botcon, I have to say this year was one of the better years as far as the venue goes. The Dealers Room was set up nicely with plenty of room between the tables for people to walk through as compared to past shows where the room would feel very claustrophobic. Tho the cell phone jamming was annoying, I don't blame the show for that.

    The Welker experience reminded me of the first time Cullen was invited to the show. Frank seemed to be as awed by us fans as we were of him. I'm glad that he had a great time and I hope he'll come back again at a show in the future.

    All in all, I had a great time as it felt a little more like the smaller shows from years past. I think I would like one of these kind of shows every once in a while in between all of the larger, more hectic ones.
     
  8. UltraPrimal

    UltraPrimal N/A

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    What a terrible BotCon! Where to begin? Let's start with the venue.

    The Hotel
    • old, dirty, and in desperate need of either a full renovation or just a wrecking ball
    • that smell! Ew! It was like a mix of BO and feces
    • tube TVs? Really? What is this? 1995 or 2015?
    • ANTS! Every! ANTS!
    • crooked toilet? WTF?
    • the shower also smelled like fecal matter. I was convinced I'd come out dirtier than I was going in
    • the nonsensical layout of room numbers made finding parts parties a chore
    • and worst part was that most of this they could have found out by doing a simple Google search for reviews of this place

    The Exclusives
    • Packrat: AWESOME! More BW please!
    • Battletrap: Good, but without Flywheels, who cares?
    • SG Stepper: Not only did FP already do Ricochet/Stepper, but they seriously dropped the ball on this one. Either make him red like Zoom Zoom or SG Ricochet, OR make his gold with black flames the reverse of the original Stepper or just Golden Lagoon Jazz
    • Megatron: I'm just going to say this isn't for me and leave it at that.
    • Oilmaster: Again, not for me and huge waste of the budget, IMO
    • Galva Lio Convoy: I know a lot of people aren't liking it, but I think it's nice. I just wish the pre-assembled version came with some stickers. At least the Maximal logo for his chest. Heck, he doesn't even come with a list what paints to use. And of course the BW Covenant of Primus would have been awesome to have too
    • Zaptrap: Kind of cool having a Diaclone Insecticon homage but, like the Duocons, having only 1 out of 3 is kind of worthless
    • Gen OP and Sgt Hound: It's nice that they're trying to homage some more never released figures, but why did Hound get the new head? They'd had been better off giving Prime and more Prime head. And why is it that the Diaclone drivers for the Diaclone 2-pack come with these two and not the ones they're meant to come with?
    • Burn Out and Lift-Ticket: More Diaclone? Hmm...I think I'm starting to see a pattern...
    • Warurders 4-pack: OK, interesting ideas, but why do Transmetal Fox Kids Waspinator instead of Buzzsaw?! Because it's SG? Oh, please!
    • Overall: So it seems like half this set was supposed to be Diaclone and the other half is just random. When are we going to get some semblance of theme again? If you want to do a Diaclone set, just do a Diaclone set. We all want it! Would have been so hard to do blue Optimus, blue Bluestreak, red Mirage, yellow Trailbreaker, etc. Heck, they could even have just held off until next year and used the CW molds, as opposed to the CHUG ones. Then we'd have Diaclone combiners! Just look at 2011, BotCons most successful year ever. Animated theme. Box set was a perfect set, all 5 Stunticons in 1 box. All Animated add-ons except SG Thundercracker and Galvatron. Which is fine. Still got to have something to appease that small group of people who don't like Animated. So might as well throw them a bone there.

    The Convention
    • poor organization. Most, if not all logistical decisions seemed like they were made minutes before the event. Prime example: after everyone finished lining up for the dinner, the staff had everyone move down a very narrow hallway and then move back to where they were originally and then go inside. Why didn't they just let people go in and sit down in the first place? Who knows?
    • so-called technical difficulties. Panels not starting on time is nothing new for BotCon. But when panels don't start until 30 minutes in or are just outright cancelled, or there's feedback coming through the speakers and no one lifts a finger, sounds like someone needs to either get their act together or get fired
    • and it's not just the people. The equipment they use for the panels needs to either be fixed or replaced. There were panels where you could hear feedback from the microphones and nobody was trying to fix it. And the image from the projector...I don't know if it was from the projector itself or the camera or what, but sometimes that picture coming out of there was just awful. As someone who has professional experience with that type of equipment, I felt like coming over and troubleshooting it for them

    Overall
    This has to be the worst BotCon, IMO. And if you think I'm being too harsh, FunPub has been doing this for how long? 10 years. If they haven't solved some of these problems by now, there's something seriously wrong. Maybe it's time to invest in some new equipment and get some fresh blood in there so that FunPub can see another 10 years doing BotCon.

    The only saving grace was hanging with friends. Always the best part of any convention. Unfortunately, the only good thing about this years BotCon.
     
  9. Autobot City Comics 2008

    Autobot City Comics 2008 Drama Geek

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    I had a GREAT time that is all
     
  10. Wreckgar

    Wreckgar Anthony Stark Moderator

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    Wait, which booth was yours? I thought about you at the con when I saw a Generations Gears and remember you were looking for one but didn't have your contact info!
     
  11. Hiro Prime

    Hiro Prime Cybertronian Guru Veteran

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    I was the overloaded one with the comic boxes full of toys over by the giant Grimlock.
     
  12. cbff

    cbff Destroyer of Botcon (Retired)

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    So anyone get multiple charges on their credit cards for the hotel room? I seen somebody on Facebook mention their card got charged for over $1300.
     
  13. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    I got charged twice, and got it refunded a week later.
     
  14. narkonist

    narkonist Well-Known Member

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    No, but due to the cc difficulties I charged a guy 98 bucks for an unused G1 Jetfire MIB. The charge should have been for 983.00 If any of you know who he is, please have him contact me at [email protected].

    As for the show; I went to the 2003 and 2012 Botcons and I was dissapointed. The venue was old and needed updated, the food was deporable and did not cator to dietary restrictions at all, the convention seemed like it was thrown together at the last minute, foot traffic was very slow, WIFI access was blocked in the exhibition hall, and the venue was 1 mile away from an official, "DEADMALL!" On the bright side, I was very pleased with the box set, especially OilMaster! I am not into pretenders at all, but he was a must have for me. I also liked the Zaptrap attendee figure, which my daughter kavished onto, along with my Rattrap from the box set (I bought her one of her own.) The sets were megh, except for the Waspinator set, which I really liked. Once again my daughter struck and took those too.

    Overall, it was a very underwhelming convention, especially when I compare it to the 2012 show.
     
  15. uruseiranma

    uruseiranma Well-Known Member

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    My friend noted how they kept asking everyone if they had food allergies (first at check-in), and then repeatedly over the course of the dinner).
     
  16. narkonist

    narkonist Well-Known Member

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    I opted out of the dinner; Gluten Free is not the way to be there and every time my wife and I went to eat at one of their places, they had no idea of what Gluten was. Oh well, still had an o.k. time.
     
  17. Dr. Prime

    Dr. Prime Dr. Prime

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    Interesting read....all very mixed responses, LOL. From extremely bad to extremely good. It seems most peoples thoughts on the toys were mostly positive, which is good, but realize that they specifically underproduced what they have from previous years and still did not sell them out. That says something. I'm not sure I am going to pick any of the toys up, but if I do, they will have to be discounted. There is just too many other good toys out there now that I would rather spend my money on :2c: 

    I had attended every Botcon from 2009-2014. My interest had been waning since before last year, but Pasadena is such an easy location for me to drive to (6 hours). But I just didn't get that feeling last year that I had the previous 5 years. The fact that it was in Chicago (or an hour from) this year just made it completely uninteresting to me. I always knew Chicago proper would be a problem because it is simply so expensive in the downtown area. People would have complained how expensive everything was. I have stayed in Chicago before....at a discounted rate of $240/night, so FP probably did everyone a solid by having it an hour away.

    Honestly though, despite my waning interested in Botcon, in general, it needs to be in these types of locations on occasion to allow folks in those areas to be able to go once in a while. I am glad that the folks that got to go enjoyed it and the venue seemed to be not quite as bad as some had anticipated. My major complaint with FP is that they drop the ball every year on major short notice they give to announce the dates and location. They seriously have no excuse, despite whatever they say :2c: 
     
  18. uruseiranma

    uruseiranma Well-Known Member

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    Well, the same could be said for those of us in the middle-of-nowhere (aka 'The Midwest'), who travel to the West Coast.

    The advantage of the con being in St Charles this year, is that I saved about $350+ on a plane ticket. Didn't do a Primus package or any souvenirs though. Just stayed simple to my credo of, 'only get what I can't find cheaper online (like Generations Arcee, or the MP's of Wheeljack and Bumblebee).

    The St Charles location is one that I'd heard of from other conventions over the last decade (one of the yearly DeLorean car shows was held there 3-5 years ago), but given its location, is inconvenient to those of us who don't own a car to get out to St Charles.

    Still wish they could definitely have chosen an 'in-city-limits' convention center and 'actually' be in Chicago.

    I joked that calling St Charles was a lot like a joke I heard in some Mystery Science Theater episodes:

    "What country is this taking place in?"
    "Europe!"
    "...oh."
     
  19. TransfanG1

    TransfanG1 Well-Known Member

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    Wow that SUUUUUUUCKS!! Goooood luck getting that guy to stand up and cough up the other 800 bones...
     
  20. megamus

    megamus Overworked and Underpaid Veteran

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    Alright our experiences at Botcon 2015.

    This was our second best year. We did great, the crowd was great, we were non-stop. I guess if dealers are upset at what they made they need to think about what they bring or what prices they set. We did phenomenal. As far as the experiences, it was amazing meeting Frank Welker and the others. We did not have one bad experience in the dealer room. As for the room sales, we did not stay in the tower and at first were worried that people would not find us but people did. Several times we had to limit the number of people whom were in the room ( for those who had to wait or come back I am sorry) it was great. Everyone was happy and having a good time. Once again, if others had problems in this area you might want to check a few things. I was able to get a few things checked off my list and some that I did not even know I wanted!!!! Most importantly I got to hang with good friends and made new ones. Once again, Botcon was as it has always been to me. A great time!!! I hope others had as good of a time as I did.