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GenCon SoCal Canceled

Stagnant Attendance, Exhibitors Defections Cited

Published: 01/29/2007 12:00am

GenCon LLC has announced that it is canceling GenCon SoCal, its show in Anaheim.  Peter Adkison, CEO of Gen Con, explained: 'Putting an end to our Gen Con SoCal show was in no way an easy decision to make, but at the end of the day, it became apparent to us that the show was not likely to grow and expand without immense effort and expense.  There were several factors that contributed to the decision about the show. The southern California region has witnessed a spike in competing shows; the attendance remained at a steady number; and a few key exhibitors reduced their level of support for the show.'

According to an open letter from Adkison posted on the GenCon site, the company's first Anaheim show in 2003 attracted 4,148 unique attendees.  In 2004, the attendance was up to 5,559, but the move to a much larger hall made the attendance appear smaller in spite of the nearly 35% gain.  In 2005, the show experienced a much more modest gain in unique attendees to 6,326, while the number of badgeholders actually dropped in 2006 to 5,840. 

The number of exhibitors declined steadily from 106 during the show's first year to 72 in 2006.  With most segments of the games industry suffering declines in sales over the past two years, and the number of pop culture shows growing, Gen Con SoCal found it increasingly difficult to attract sufficient support from exhibitors.

In contrast to GenCon SoCal, which would have required a 20% yearly increase in attendance to reach profitability in five years, GenCon Indy is a robust and profitable show that will benefit from the demise of GenCon SoCal, according to the letter, because it will free up more funds to help promote the Indianapolis show, which long ago acquired the critical mass in attendance to ensure profitability.

 
 
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