If Fan Expo 2013 was the latest battleground between nerds vs. jocks, the nerds crushed their competition in a lopsided victory. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as this is the first time that sports has been featured. However, the sports aspects of the show themselves turned out to be a bit of a letdown.
For starters, the sports area was pretty isolated from the rest of the event. While this allows it to run independently of the main show so that people can buy sports-only tickets, it really felt lonely there much of the time. During the first two days of the show, that area was a ghost town, while the weekend was only a bit better.
Most of the booths here were selling sports memorabilia, which isn’t really my scene. I did buy a few cool Toronto Raptors items, though and appreciate having only spent $3 on them. Some of the vendors we talked to were struggling to make enough money to cover their vendor fees and weren’t sure if they’d come back.
The biggest tragedy of the whole event were the sports panels. From hometown heroes like the 92/93 World Series Blue Jays to Joe Montana, every panel was poorly attended. No more than 20 people showed up to see Joe Montana speak in a professional interview and answer fan questions. That’s a shame, cause he’s sports royalty anywhere. I get the sense that most of the sports fans in attendance had no idea the panels were even happening or knew how to take advantage of them. I thought that the panels I did attend were fantastic, as I got to interact with my sports heroes in a way I never thought I’d get the chance to. Heck, I got to talk to Joe Montana!
As a fan of sports and nerd culture, I was really disappointed in how the jock side panned out. I really hope that the organizing committee makes an honest effort to improve the sports section, though I can also see them simply cutting their losses.