• Local Cons build fan base and yearly revenue
Comic Cons are becoming more and more well-known, with Midwest cities adopting their own variations to Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) and New York Comic Con (NYCC), which are held each year. From anime to horror and gaming to furry, there are all kinds of Cons to be involved in.
One search of “midwest comic con” online and you can see lists of scheduled events throughout the year. From Cedar Rapids Con, in Iowa, held this past February to Cincinnati Comic Expo, in Ohio, coming up in September, and there are so many more.
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Anime, board games, and video gaming. Midwest Meetings spoke with Shane Gerlach, Chairman of SiouxperCon Board of Directors, about how it all got started.
SiouxperCon began with a simple Facebook post asking if Sioux Falls hosted a Comic Book convention, would there be interest in attending. “The overwhelming response led to our Founder, Brian Broekemeier, recruiting friends to start a convention,” recalled Gerlach. “In our first year, 1,500 paying guests (10 and over) showed up. In our second year, over Mother’s Day weekend, we had 3,200 paying guests.”
In those first years, SiouxperCon’s volunteer planners had some hurdles to overcome. Some of the largest hurdles included, you guessed it, sponsorship, funding, volunteers, and organization. “None of use had ever done this before,” said Gerlach, “so the organizational side was an early barrier.”
For those who may want to start a Con or completely new convention in your area, Gerlach gave some tips, which we will discuss over this three part series.
Organization: The biggest advice I can give is to surround yourself with people you trust, secure sponsorships, and create a viable model you are willing to modify as dictated by each unique circumstance. You will not have a plan to put out every fire which occurs during the convention (especially year one); but by having people you can trust and the ability to see ‘beyond the plan,’ you will be successful.
Stay tuned for next week’s All the Pros to Cons - Part 2 discussing sponsorship and other hurdles.
Have you been part of a Comic Con in your area? Comment below and let us know what you learned or a hurdle you came up against and how you pushed through for success.