Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

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Luke
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Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

Post by Luke » February 12th, 2020, 3:41 pm

I became an autograph collector back in 2001 where I'd meet athletes after games and they'd always sign for free whether you were an adult, child etc. Athletes still do this in 2020 which is great and the teams even arrange free fan days at stadiums/venues for fans to meet their favourite players. I went to one last year of my favourite team and got to meet some true superstars from the team for absolutely nothing as did maybe 100 others. Hell, even the Australian national team captain came over to the gate after his last international game for handshakes, signatures and photos with the fans. Athletes rule with stuff like this!

However, in my experience the athletes are the only ones still signing for free. In 2005 I attended my first professional wrestling event and for thirty dollars you got to meet AJ Styles, Chris Daniels, Samoa Joe, Gail Kim, Nidia, Test, Nathan Jones, Frankie Kazarian and I think Rhino was also in there who was super fresh out of WWE. This was pretty much unlimited photos and autographs, plenty of chat time with the respective wrestlers and a pretty decent meet and greet. These days a line up like that would cost about $300.00 or more. For 30 dollars you'd be lucky to get one of the lower end talents for a combo.

The indies in my country aren't too bad. I got a signature from Jushin Liger in December for only $20.00 and photos were on offer for an extra 10 I believe. Going rate seems to be about $15.00 - $20.00 for a combo with a former WWE star but I saw Orlando Jordan last month doing $10.00 combos also. I think he keeps his price low because he turns up at my local indy once or twice a year.

One of the big Australian conventions by the name of Supanova only 3-4 years ago was fairly priced with pretty high end celebrities being available for 70-80 dollar combos but they've now upped their prices massively to the point that even the lowest end guest can't be had for under $80.00. The higher end guests (Who aren't really A-List at all) will set you back at least $220.00 for a combo. On the rare occasions that they do get someone who is A-List or formerly was A-List the prices can go as high as 400-500 dollars for a combo. A good example is George Lazenby who was 60 dollars for a combo in 2017 but is now a $130.00 combo at this years event. I'm a huge Bond fan but even I know Lazenby isn't worth a $130.00 combo.

In the United States I've seen much worse online, bands charging as high as 1500-2000 dollars for a quick handshake, signature and a group photo or film actors charging four figures for thirty seconds of their time. Maybe others can touch on how much the prices have risen for more "mid tier/low tier" acts because I'm not up to date on them.

So this leads to my question. Is the average person being priced out at conventions? If you're a person who has a wide range of interests in terms of movies, wrestling stars, musicians etc you very well could spend 4 figures at these conventions on combos alone. That doesn't include the high price to get in through the door (Supanova is charging $40.00 to even get through the door) or the merchandise that you might want to buy which I know for a fact is overpriced. Could we see the end of conventions due to greed from organisers? Have any of you noticed crowds dropping because of prices going up?

Interested in your views.


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Re: Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

Post by ICW » February 12th, 2020, 4:27 pm

Great post! I think there are many layers to this question:

As someone who's been in the hobby for 5+ years (which is minimal compared to most of you!) the answer is an unequivocal "yes." I don't mind paying a premium for big names (think guys like Alex Rodriguez or The Undertaker) but I'm starting to draw a line when vendors put unreasonable price tags on middling talent.

Taryn Terrelle hasn't done a signing in quite a while but is she worth essentially $40 for a combo? Absolutely not. How about Amy Webber and Joy Giovanni going for $30 per autograph or photo op? That's insanity. The last MAB Yankees Show was completely out of whack with Luis Sojo and Jose Rijo charging $40 for photo ops!

But here's the issue: there's still a decent amount of people willing to pay that price. I am friends with fellow hobbyists (who don't post on this board) who gladly pay those prices *and* pay more money for extras.

Also, I don't know if there's any interest from "casual fans." I'm friends with a bunch of guys who are sports crazy and 90% of them have zero interest in meeting any of these athletes unless it's through a chance encounter. One of my best friends is as diehard of a Yankees fan as there is and he's passed on meeting Yankees for free because he doesn't want to wait on line for an hour or two. It doesn't matter to him that the end result will be a combo from a member of his favorite team because, to him, the ends do not justify the means.
Feel free to visit my blog concerning wrestling conventions, signings, and meet & greets!
https://squaredcirclecons.com/

Anthony18
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Re: Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

Post by Anthony18 » February 12th, 2020, 5:31 pm

I say yes they are being priced out, but no I don't see it being the end of conventions. People will pay. The upcoming Big Event in NY I can see being very packed!

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Re: Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

Post by WOODMO » February 12th, 2020, 11:47 pm

Honestly, the price of combos are more money than they were 10 years ago, but so are most things. The exorbitant 3-4 figure names are just indicative of the bigger names on the scene than a decade ago. Are average people priced out? Yeah I would say yes, unless they have their priorities set up in a way where they are putting necessities on the back burner to get pricey combos. But average people are priced out of big concerts and sporting events too, it's just the nature of the beast. People will keep paying

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Re: Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

Post by Bozarth » February 13th, 2020, 4:52 am

I see new people attending events, and they're totally cool with dropping terrible prices on mediocre names. If someone really wants to meet someone, they'll pay... The downside is it's more difficult to meet everybody we want. In 2006, it was a piece of cake to meet everyone on a guest list for the price of meeting 4 or 5 names now.

On the plus side, I can now be pickier about how much I spend. "Do I really need an autograph from somebody that didn't even say a line and just walked by the camera?"

I'd love to see a sliding price scale. Want to meet "whoever" from The Walking Dead? Fine. That'll be $70 since it's popular. They had a small part in an obscure movie from 1985? "That'll be $20 to sign your poster." I can dream, can't I? Lol


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Re: Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

Post by Hbklique1 » February 13th, 2020, 1:49 pm

I feel people are being more careful on who they spend on due to the prices. I know for myself, that's the case. Are there some like the Undertaker who raised prices and people will pay regardless? absolutely. The big effect is the people who may be lower tiered talent. I know at wizard world, Claudia wells was charging $80 for a combo. As much I would have liked to add her to my back to the future poster, I wasn't going to pay $40-50 for an autograph. If it was closer to $20-30 I can see more business and longer lines happening.

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Re: Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

Post by ICW » February 13th, 2020, 2:12 pm

WOODMO wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 11:47 pm
Honestly, the price of combos are more money than they were 10 years ago, but so are most things. The exorbitant 3-4 figure names are just indicative of the bigger names on the scene than a decade ago. Are average people priced out? Yeah I would say yes, unless they have their priorities set up in a way where they are putting necessities on the back burner to get pricey combos. But average people are priced out of big concerts and sporting events too, it's just the nature of the beast. People will keep paying
I think you make a fair assessment but I keep thinking back to this past WrestleCon. I met a few wrestlers who were charging $10-$20 for combos and that's because they brought themselves in.

If vendors were out of the equation, we would most certainly see a decline in prices for obvious reasons. Vendors often overpay for talent and that creates headaches for everyone.
Feel free to visit my blog concerning wrestling conventions, signings, and meet & greets!
https://squaredcirclecons.com/

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Re: Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

Post by AJLe » February 13th, 2020, 3:21 pm

I think the current pricing structure isn't going to kill off the diehard hobbyist types that most of us on this board are, but I think it will have a long-term effect on turning away new fans from becoming "diehards" like us over time.

People who are "pokemon collectors", who do various cast projects, are super fanboys of particular movies or shows, etc., are for the most part, always going to pay what it takes to get their wants. But say a young kid, fresh out of school with a job and a little bit of disposable income for the first time, discovers cons, is he going to want to *start* seriously collecting and becoming a con regular, when even 80's horror victims are $30+ and charging for table ops, and headliners are three-figures for combos? Maybe not.

Even for myself, I find myself drawing lines where I rarely did before. I was considering hitting up Galaxy Con in Richmond for the Flash Gordon people, but when I did the math, I'd be in for over $400 before even factoring in travel costs, hotel, etc., so I passed. I already have Flash and Dale on my piece, so if the others don't come around closer and/or cheaper, I'll just do without them. I'm just passed the point where I'm going to overpay for non-essential wants anymore.

Hbklique1 wrote:
February 13th, 2020, 1:49 pm
I know at wizard world, Claudia wells was charging $80 for a combo. As much I would have liked to add her to my back to the future poster, I wasn't going to pay $40-50 for an autograph. If it was closer to $20-30 I can see more business and longer lines happening.
IIRC, she's *always* overpriced herself. I don't remember exact numbers, but I got her on my BTTF stuff probably 7-8 years ago, and I think she was 30-40 for a graph *then*, and not only that, charging extra for a table photo (I passed) - which was pretty much unheard of for people on her level at the time. This was at a time when you could get Robert Englund for $25/graph and get free table ops from him if the con didn't shut them down to keep his line moving. Insanity that she would think she was worth significantly more than that.

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Re: Is The Average Fan Being Priced Out?

Post by Greg2600 » February 13th, 2020, 5:03 pm

There's no doubt the avg. fan is hurting with these prices. Many regulars at shows like Monster or Chiller I know complain, and they legit do not pay. They choose to skip the persons. Most as everyone has noted, pay anyway. I know many promoters/handlers, and many try to keep the prices reasonable. However, the agents get involved and that's bad. The old timers and has beens are still affordable because often there's no agent.
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