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Phil's Rambling Rants
September 9th, 2004
08:09 pm


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Why did Columbus lose?
I was going to bury this in a comment in a day-old post in someone else's journal but realized it might get ignored. If you attended the Worldcon or otherwise have a feeling about how the wind blows around the SMOFs, please share your thoughts!

Did Columbus lose the Worldcon bid because people didn't think it was a strong bid that would lead to a good con, or did Japan win over a good bid from Columbus because people really wanted Japan?

There has been some discussion of whether Columbus wants the NASFiC. I think the answer to the above question (an honest answer about the general mood of the Worldcon voting public, not the Columbus committee's own feelings) is the key to the question. In other words, if they really want a Worldcon, do they have a good shot of getting it if they bid again, or should they go for the NASFiC to show fandom that they really can handle a big con?

To any of my friends who were part of the Columbus bid, let me make clear that my point isn't that I lack confidence in Columbus. I am wondering, since I don't feel that I have my finger on the pulse of fannish opinion, how much confidence fandom in general has in Columbus.


(4 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:September 9th, 2004 06:55 pm (UTC)
Columbus lost the bid because Japan ran a good, strong campaign and had the confidence of a lot of the SMOFs long before Columbus decided to bid in the first place. For every person who voted for Columbus because they were much more likely to go to Columbus than Japan, there were more who said, "Japan!" or someone like me, who voted for Japan even though I was more likely to go to Worldcon in Columbus by orders of magnitude.

It's not that people thought Columbus couldn't do it. It's more that Japan was in the race long before Columbus decided to run and Japan never, ever stopped running hard and people thought that Japan could do it better.

At least, that was the sense that I got.
[User Picture]
Date:September 10th, 2004 05:17 am (UTC)
This pretty much pegs it.

The fact that Columbus got into the bid late had a lot to do with it.

The fact that Japan has provided detailed reports and results from its national convention for years also increased familiarity with the Japanese committee.

In North America, few cities win a bid without either a history or a successful NASFic run by the committee. If Columbus were to run a successful NASFic, they would be assured of a WorldCon win.
[User Picture]
Date:September 9th, 2004 07:45 pm (UTC)
* Japan had a much more interesting destination.
* Columbus didn't make a serious effort to bid. The Japanese were more visible even though they had to travel several thousand miles further to get to conventions.
* There aren't a lot of Columbus fans known in Worldcon fandom. Many people had serious concerns about their ability to run a Worldcon.

On the plus side, Columbus is cheap to get to and has a great facility. What it would need to win a future bid would be (a) easier competition, (b) more Columbus fans working on Worldcons (or NASFiCs), and (c) a lot more serious effort on the part of the bid committee to hit the convention trail.

When the Columbus bid didn't show up at Balticon or Westercon, it became clear that they weren't making an effort and they weren't going to win. The actual vote was closer than I expected. However, Lisa and Matthew are well respected and there is a measure of goodwill in fandom towards Columbus. (Note that Kansas City which lost the vote for 2006 is now bidding for 2009, drawing on the basis of support they built up then.) There is a window of opportunity to put together a NASFiC bid for 2007, because the St. Louis bid is not well-known. However, the deadline for filing is March 1, which in practical terms means the bid would have to be announced by Smofcon in December. According to rumors heard at Noreascon (Columbus people I spoke to), there are people in Columbus considering a NASFiC bid, but others are not in favor.

Conucopia in 1999 was used to train people for LACon IV, and there are Seattle people who see Cascadia Con as training for a possible future Worldcon there some year.

However, an important thing to keep in mind is that the purpose of a bid is to win the honor of hosting a Worldcon (or NASFiC). One of the most important and effective ways to promote your group is to work on other conventions. Anybody who is seriously considering a future Worldcon or NASFiC bid, ever, should be signing up to work on Interaction, Cascadia Con, LACon, and/or Nippon. Over the years we got to know Lisa, Matthew, and of course Larry and Barb, but there's really not a long list of Columbus fans known to travelling fandom. And it's not enough to work on Worldcons, people need to work on other conventions in the region. It does appear that the Columbus group managed to connect to Chicago fandom, but people need to get out more to other places within driving distance: Detroit, Cincinatti, Toronto, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, etc.

I would not claim to have my finger on the pulse of fannish opinion, but I am 3-0 for bidding and I have thrown a Worldcon bid party at Marcon (in 1999).
At a minimum, serious Columbus fans should at least be able to make it to Columbus next weekend for Midwest Construction. A lot of conrunners are going to be there from all over.
Date:September 10th, 2004 07:16 am (UTC)
I'm not in the worldcon loop any more and probally won't be for another few years (having a pet grad studnet takes away my ability to goto worldcons). But I do know that at the cons I went to (Kansas city and St Louis) I saw Japan parties and did not see any Columbus parties. And I know that with the rise in interest in anime a lot of folks I know would love a chance to visit Japan
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