Event organizer Mike Broder made the announcement in a no-holds-barred news release this week.
“Florida Supercon, the second largest convention event held at the Miami Beach Convention Center in 2016, only behind Art Basel, has announced that it is moving its celebrities, attendees, and economic impact to Fort Lauderdale for at least the next two years,” the statement reads. The geeks are taking their talents away from South Beach.
("Geek" is is a self-chosen term, by the way. “You name a geek cultural property — that’s what this [event] is all about,” Broder says.)
The move comes as a result of construction at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Event organizers tried to make it work this year, but there were numerous setbacks and frustrations, Broder says. Large chunks of the building were unavailable because they were being rebuilt, and blocked exits meant the building also required a lower capacity from a fire code standpoint. Broder says they also lost about 850 parking spots because the parking lot across the street was unavailable.
“That’s not the fire marshal’s fault," Broder says, "and everyone in the convention center has been great.” Rather, it was a result of a redesign plan enacted by public officials, he says. An extensive renovation of the property began last December and is expected to be finished in 2018. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has said the upgrade will be a boon for the local economy in the long run.
The Supercon folks tried to make up for lost space this summer by holding some events at the nearby Fillmore, but Broder says it was “a clusterfuck.”
“I’ll never step foot in the Fillmore again, not with that management,” he says. The issues included an increased security presence in the wake of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting that he thought was too aggressive, and what he called “dishonest” practices from an event manager there. The Fillmore did not immediately return New Times' request for comment.
The change of venue will happen next summer. Florida Supercon 2017 will take place July 27 through 30 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center. Whether Supercon or any of Broder's other events — such as like Animate! Florida and Paradise City Comic Con — return to Miami remains to be seen.
"That’s a conversation to have in two years," he says. "When the [Miami Beach Convention Center] is done, it's going to be a great building. I'll suspect I'll do something there."
Meanwhile, Broder says, he locked Supercon in at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center until 2018. He says that the venue has been very cooperative and that if his signature event goes well, it will make it difficult for him to want to leave.
However, so far, people don’t seem too upset about the move. Broder says pretty much all of the feedback he’s received from Supercon regulars has been positive. Those posting about the change on the event’s Facebook page also seem pleased, either happy to see it closer to their home or extolling the virtues of the Fort Lauderdale venue.