|Aren't all conventions like this?|
NTRPG Con 2016
I know. An ENWorld article being referenced at The Tavern. Before you bite my head off and stuff it in a NTRPG Con swag bag realize that the premise really isn't wrong. There IS a need for more RPG focused gaming conventions, especially ones that are actually focused on gaming (in other words, not Gen Con)
(you can read the article here)
Here is the part that sticks out to me:
However, that doesn't mean that a local or regional convention couldn't grow up into these facilities to be something equivalent to Origins Game Fair. According to their Wikipedia page, Origins had an attendance of 15,938 in 2015. Honestly, that isn't that high of a bar for attendance for a convention to reach, with a few years of hard work and good conventions. It surprises me that, for such a fun convention, Origins has such relatively low attendance numbers.
This is why I think that strengthening the regional gaming convention scene is easier than people would think. Do I think that it is feasible for a gaming convention to have an attendance of 15K out of the gate? No, and I don't think that most people starting a convention can really handle those sorts of numbers right off the bat. I do think that a first year convention with an attendance of 500-1000 people is feasible to shoot for.Actually, it is a huge bar to hit, especially for a first year con because you would need an experienced convention staff to organize and run it. And you know what? Many folks prefer the smaller, more intimate cons like NTRPG Con and Gary Con.
So, what do you do if you are in an area that doesn't have a regional con (the NYC area has a dearth of cons, not counting two in New Jersey and they aren't Old School in nature) Barring an experienced convention management team, you grow it organically. Much like NTRPG and Gary Con. And you build the con's reputation organically. Bite off more than you can handle the first year and you might have no second year.
Of course, there is no discussion of the number of days to run that first con, because if you do more than a single day, you need a hotel to host - or have one nearby. Then there's the logistics of special guests and the cost associated with such.
Can you tell such discussions have been on my mind recently? No, I'm not organizing a local con. Even retirement has its limits ;)