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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Sean Kelly

Fan Expo 2013: It’s Expensive to Be a Geek

This is more or less a follow-up to the post I made in March when the ticket prices for this year’s Fan Expo was released.  In the five years I have been going to the convention, the pass prices have slowly, but steadily increased and now a deluxe pass, which gets you access for the entire weekend, costs $115 ($122 when you add surcharges).  I finally caved and purchased the pass today, even though I am less than happy about the price.  When I bought my first deluxe pass a mere two years ago, it only cost me about $79 (plus surcharges).  That means the cost of going to Fan Expo has increased by nearly $40 in the course of two years.  I understand that the convention is expanding this year, to cover the entire Metro Toronto Convention Centre, however I cannot keep committing my self to going to Fan Expo every year if they keep increasing the prices.

There is also the fact that a Fan Expo pass only really gets you into the building.  If you want to meet the celebrity guests and get their autograph or a photo-op, it’s going to also cost you money.  The prices for the autographs and photo-ups were just announced this week and they are more costly than ever.  It was only a year or two ago when, with the exception of a very high profile headliner, you wouldn’t be expected to pay more than $40 or $50 for an autograph.  Now, many of this year’s guests are charging in the the $60 or $80 range, with some of the higher profile celebrities charging close to $100.  There are now very few celebrities, who are charging $30 or less, which used to be the average for celebrity autographs.  The photo-ops are no better and most will set you back between $50 and $100.

I don’t know how much of the price is set by the celebrities and how much is set by Fan Expo, but it’s definitely sad that autograph prices have raised so much this year.  In fact, I’ve already decided that I will forgo any (paid) autographs or photo-ops at this year’s convention.  The only true standouts for me this year is Gremlins director Joe Dante, who I can pass on, and wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, who is one of the more expensive guests.  In the long run, I might actually enjoy the convention better if I don’t spend half of it waiting in lines.

The sad truth of all of this is that Fan Expo can get away with charging so much because there are hardcore geeks and nerds that are willing to shell out the money to attend Fan Expo and meet their favourite celebrities.  While I’ve spent a lot at Fan Expo in the past, I have not even come close to some of the hardcore attendees, who would easily spend thousands of dollars on a single weekend.  Even though I consider myself part of the geek crowd, this willingness to spend money is something that just boggles my mind.

Time will tell how unscathed I will be at Fan Expo.  I’m going to try very hard to keep my spending this year at a minimum (mostly for meals) and hopefully that $122 deluxe pass will end up being my highest expense.  I guess we’ll see in only two weeks time.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).