Mishalak (mishalak) wrote in rasff,

A Random Study of Worldcon Prices

It's actually a horrible dark conspiracy to keep out the riff-raff. No honest, that's what shelleybear says in this entry, I happened across.

Never mind that if you take the $25 at the door price of Worldcon in 1974 and run it against an inflation calculator you get $101.21 in 2004. So that means that the $200 at the door price today is more or less double what it was in 1974. So if inflation is only that much, why $200? Well, my understanding is that certain weekends, like Labor Day, were much deader for hotels in decades past. This meant that conventions could get really good bargains when going for them, but that's not the case anymore. Now we compete with all the other things that hotels have found will fill those spaces.

Another thing is size. In 1974 the Long List has 3,587 as the total membership. In 2004 the equivalent number is 7,094. This means using larger and more expensive facilities, Sheraton Park Hotel in 1974 and Hynes Convention Center, Sheraton Boston Hotel, & Boston Marriott Copley Place in 2004.

And I've heard tell that Worldcons do somewhat more now than in 1974. Fancy shmancy lighting for the Hugos, professional sound systems, projectors for presentations, etc, etc.

So could Worldcon be less expensive? Almost undoubtedly, if people were willing to make cuts. All those little things that have crept in but aren't necessary to whatever a committee's vision of the core mission of Worldcon. But it would still have to be in big convention centers unless they caped the membership (oh, hey, I guess that would keep out the riff raff as well) or settled on a few very large hotels when in the US. Ultimately it is up to the people who vote on such things and they mostly go to Worldcon, unlike the people who whine about how expensive it is. I'm willing to bet even if prices were lowered these people still wouldn't go because they'd be complaining about the hotel, airfare, etc.
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So am I going to see you in two years at Denver? (I wasn't going to go originally, but they picked as Fan Guest of Honor an old friend of mine.)
My line about this is: I will go to Worldcon provided I'm not sick, unemployed, depressed out of my mind, or dead.
In 1977 (Suncon) the program was printed in the Program Book. It includes things like Huckster Room and Art Show hours.

In reasonable type, it occupies two pages.
I bet the program book didn't have a glossy full color cover either. <grin>
Full colour di Fate wrap-round picture of Jack Williamson (the GoH) against a starscape.

Color me surprised.
As near as I can make out, his argument was that high prices are limiting the number of fans who can attend, and almost telling the excess fans "you are excluded". And his solution to this problem is to *actually* limit the number of fans who can attend and telling the excess that they are excluded. And he doesn't explain why this is a better state of affairs.

The implied criticism of fans who will pay the money is that they are inferior to the people who won't pay the money. Presumably the latter are "purer" fans, although I don't get why.

This reminds me strongly of the fan who complained that she couldn't get to the Tun on Thursday night, and could the hundred or so regulars meet on Saturday afternoon for her benefit instead? On being told "hell no!" she called them all big elitists. The obvious solution was for her to meet on Saturday with all the thousands of other "Saturday fans" excluded by the Thursday lot, and enjoy herself that way, but she never did.

Why does Max not simply run a science fiction convention with the price schedule and membership cap that suits him, and watch stodgy Worldcon committees go green with envy at the success of his con? And maybe in years to come, watch his Worldcon bid storm all rivals to capture the vote for future Worldcons?
That is why I got frustrated and came here to write this. I can see an argument for setting a cap above the target the convention is going for and using that to more precisely pick facilities. For example 5000 in Denver would probably be about 500-1000 more than the number of people who would show up. But not to cram it into a non-convention space.