Loncon 3 Estimates Razor-Thin Surplus

An initial report shows the 2014 Worldcon with a very small surplus – around £1,000.

The financial review came during a Loncon 3 post-mortem held at Smofcon 32 in December with co-chair Steve Cooper, division heads Helen Montgomery and Eemeli Aro, deputy division head Theresa (TR) Renner, and adviser Vincent Docherty. They distributed a handout at the session that summarized total income at £939,393.77 and expenses at £938,475.33, leaving an estimated surplus of £918.44 (a little less than US$1500).

Vince Docherty says of the initial estimate –

In regard to the figures we provided, note that we made those available with a strong health warning, as they are interim at best, and in the case of the financial figures, still subject to receiving final income or expenses and some items where we suspect a review will result in a cost reduction. These will ideally be resolved in time for the official finance report for Loncon 3 which will be presented at next year’s WSFS Business Meeting.

Kevin Standlee had this to say about the narrow margin:

While the convention was certainly successful, it’s frightening to read the financial figures that currently show a projected surplus of less than £1,000 on a gross of more than £900,000. Basically, Loncon 3 needed every one of those members to hold a once-in-a-generation Worldcon in an incredibly expensive city, and we shouldn’t expect a quick return.

Vince Docherty commented for File 770

I think that Kevin’s point has some general merit: London is very expensive and we knew we needed additional income as compared to Glasgow, though we also knew we would get more members by being in London, as Eastercons there have shown, with their much increased attendance. In fact we had many more members than originally expected, and were able to adjust the budget accordingly, over time. US (and Canadian) Worldcons typically generate about $1m of income and have costs of about three-quarters of that, which means they can afford reimbursements (typically ~$100k), Pass-along-funds and still leave a generous surplus for other things (which sometimes doesn’t get disbursed for many years!) and therefore can have a lighter-touch approach to budgeting.

  • The Loncon 3 committee are still working on the numbers, but to help illustrate the discussion at SMOFcon we provided an informal snapshot of member and financial data for the SMOFcon discussion, which showed it was the largest Worldcon to date in terms of overall registrations (and one of the largest in warm bodies) and the largest in terms of budget in money-of-the-day;
  • We expect L3 will at least have broken-even and might have a small amount of surplus, though it will take some time to finalise the details;
  • This is normal for Worldcons outside North America, given the much higher facilities costs, and is consistent with the last two Glasgow Worldcons, which had final surpluses (before pass-along-funds, as a % of income) of about 3% and 7% respectively (*);
  • The final financial figures also represent the result of a careful approach to budgeting and release of resources over time, which should not be understood as meaning we always expected to only have a safety margin of less than 1% – in fact a contingency of much more than that was always built into the budget and approval to proceed with committing to new things was only done once we were confident we could do so. As mentioned above, we hope the final balance will be more than the snaphshot report shows, once the various outstanding items are closed.

(*)
Financial report by 1995 Worldcon;
Financial report by 2005 Worldcon

Loncon 3, economically, was a much larger project than the previous two UK Worldcons, both held in Glasgow (1995 and 2005).

That included some changes for the better: Loncon 3’s membership income was almost twice that of the 2005 Worldcon. The 2014 bid forwarded £77,830.20 of surplus funds to the con, compared with only £13,605 in 2005. And Loncon 3 received £50,396.75 in pass-along funds from recent Worldcons compared to £41,614 received by the 2005 con.

But Loncon 3 did not have the government help available to the Glasgow Worldcon in 2005, a £88,500 subvention grant provided by the Glasgow City Council to support large events.

That surely would have been welcome, considering the much higher facilities costs in London — Loncon 3’s facilities division estimates it spent £342,172 (about US$534,000). That is both a good deal more than the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon’s facilities expense –  £263,474 – and vastly more than the budget of the San Antonio (2013) Worldcon’s Facilities Division — $82,000.

Other data: Loncon 3 also shared its refined membership and attendance statistics at Smofcon:

The total warm body count (including dealers with passes) was 7,310. The total number of individuals who joined in any capacity was 11,125.

The no-show rate for all attending types was approximately 11.3% (Attending 12.2%, Other 5 Day 18.0% and Day Admissions & Hall Passes 6.4%).

2015 Smofcon Goes To Fort Worth

Smofcon 33 will be held in Fort Worth, TX from December 4-6, 2015 at the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel and Spa.

The Texas bid was selected over rival Colorado Springs by a vote of attendees during last night’s Fannish Inquisition session at Smofcon 32 in Manhattan Beach.

The FAQ from the Fort Worth bid (PDF file) has more details about their plans.

While there were other significant differences between the bids that factored into the outcome, attracting the most discussion was Colorado Springs’ assertion that they would not have a formal code of conduct. They considered the core attendees of the con to be trustworthy, having known each other for decades. And they stood by their position at the Fannish Inquisition, with MEM Morman’s valedictory on the subject being, “If you need to call the police, you call the police.”

The two main arguments advanced why Smofcon should follow the trend to have a code of conduct or antiharassment policy were (1) a convention for conrunners should serve as a model, therefore have a policy, and (2) Smofcon actually has many members who have joined fandom more recently, and wants to attract others who haven’t attended before, calling into question the assumption that this group is so homogenous it wouldn’t need to use that conrunning tool.

For photos of what’s been happening this weekend, see Crystal Huff’s Twitter feed or search #smofcon.

Smofcon 32 Program Online

The Smofcon 32 Program can be accessed here. The con runs December 5-7 in Manhattan Beach, CA.

There are daily pages for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

And there is a PDF that can be viewed or downloaded which is labeled “Pre-Con Program” because there are some small changes expected to be made before it is final.

When Secret Masters Blab, Everybody Listens

In preparation for this year’s Smofcon32, happening in Manhattan Beach, CA the first weekend of December, convention bid committees have been invited to participate in the Fannish Inquisition.

The first stage is answering a survey of commonly-asked questions — about dates, facilities, policies, etc. These committees have submitted responses, which are posted on the Smofcon 32 website.

Seated Worldcons

2015
Sasquan 2015 FAQ
Sasquan 2015 the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention August 19-23, 2015 Spokane, Washington, USA\

2016
MidAmeriCon II FAQ
MidAmeriCon II the 74th World Science Fiction Convention August 17-21, 2016 Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Worldcon Bids

2017

Nippon in 2017 Bid FAQ
Montreal in 2017 Bid FAQ
Helsinki in 2017 Bid FAQ
Washington DC in 2017 Bid FAQ

2018
New Orleans in 2018 is still in pre-bid status
San Jose in 2018 FAQ

2019
Dublin in 2019 FAQ

2020
New Zealand in 2020 FAQ
Boston in 2020 Christmas Worldcon Bid FAQ

2021
Dallas/Fort Worth in 2021 FAQ

2022
Chicago in 2022 FAQ

NASFiC Bids

2017 or 2020
San Diego NASFiC Bid FAQ

Smofcon Bids

2015
Colorado Springs 2015 Smofcon Bid FAQ
Fort Worth 2015 Smofcon Bid FAQ

2016
Chicago 2016 Smofcon Bid FAQ

Update 11/24/2014: Added link to Montreal worldcon bid FAQ, which came in later.

Smofcon Scholarships Awarded

CanSMOF Inc., the parent organization of the 2009 Montreal Worldcon, has selected the recipients of two scholarships to attend Smofcon 32, a convention for conrunners. Jean-Louis Trudel of Quebec City and Jared Dashoff of Washington, D.C. will each receive 500 CAD to help defray the cost of attending Smofcon.

One scholarship was designated for a Canadian citizen or resident, while the second was open to anyone involved in running conventions, anywhere.

Smofcon 32 will be in Manhattan Beach, California from December 5-7.

Two SMOFcon Scholarships Offered

CanSMOF Inc. is taking applications for two scholarships of up to 500 CAD each to help conrunners defray the cost of attending SMOFCon 32, being held in Manhattan Beach, CA December 5-7.

One scholarship is open to Canadian citizens or residents; the other is open to all. Eligible applicants will be automatically considered for both scholarships. Preference will be given to fans who have not previously attended a SMOFCon. Click the link for the application form.

2014 Smofcon Site Picked

Smofcon 32, a convention for con organizers, will be held in Manhattan Beach, CA from December 5-7, 2014.

Its theme will be “All Roads Lead to the Same Castle: Traveling Together Into the Future” —

Smofcon is intended as a venue to discuss and exchange ideas about convention running and we feel that the broader the base, the more different points of view and experience, the more enriched we all are. Whether your “road” is SF&F, anime, comics, gaming, steampunk or anything in between, we all want to build the strongest castle we can.

Bobbi Armbruster and Kim Marks Brown will co-chair the event, hosted bythe Southern California Institute for Fan Interests at the Manhattan Beach Marriott.

SMOFCon 31 Scholarships

Jenni Merrifield of Port Moody, British Columbia and Pablo M.A Vazquez III of Austin, Texas have been awarded C$500 scholarships by CanSMOF Inc. to help defray the cost of attending SMOFCon 31.

SMOFcon 31 will be held December 6-8 in Toronto.

“Selecting only two scholarship recipients out of the field of applicants was a challenge,” according to CanSMOF Scholarship Committee member Kevin Standlee, who evaluated applications along with Robbie Bourget and Terry Fong. “There were many worthy applicants, and I’m sorry we could only pick two of them for the grants to go to Toronto. I hope Jenni and Pablo both learn things and help share their knowledge and experience with the other members of SMOFCon.”

“SMOF” stands for “Secret Masters of Fandom,” a humorous term for people who organize science fiction and fantasy conventions.

SMOFCon is the annual convention about organizing science fiction and fantasy conventions. It has been held in different cities around the world, usually in early December, since 1984.

2013 Smofcon Website Up

SMOF31-logo-2013-banner-4-640w

Smofcon 31 will be held December 6-8 at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel.

The annual convention for sf convention runners is chaired this year by Diane Lacey. Her committee includes Ruth Lichtwardt, Catherine Crockett, Debra Yeung, Chris Smith, Mark Olson, Priscilla Olson, Jeff Orth, Claire Beaumier and Tim Sellmer. 

The con’s theme is “Learning From The Past, Looking To The Future.”

Current membership price is $50 Canadian.

2012 Smofcon Scholarhip Winners Named

CanSMOF has awarded Danielle MacDonald (Ontario, Canada) and James Shields (County Meath, Ireland) scholarships to the 2012 SMOFCon.

MacDonald has worked a number of art shows, and is also interested in masquerades and food and hospitality services. This will be her first Smofcon.

Shields has worked in programming, and is interested in developing uses of web technologies to further aid conventions and their memberships with their online experience. This will be his first Smofcon in North America.

The winning applicants were selected based on a demonstration of their potential for contributing to their local fandom and Canadian fandom. The 2012 selection committee was Terry Fong, Diane Lacey and Kevin Standlee.

CanSMOF Inc., is parent non-profit organization of Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon, The first scholarship was open to a Canadian citizen or resident, while the second was open to anyone involved in running conventions, regardless of their place of residence or citizenship.

Smofcon 30 will be held Philadelphia from November 30-December 2.