Hasbro logoMagic… Magic… Magic…

Such was the refrain this week during Hasbro’s earnings conference call. Overall, the company’s first quarter revenues were up 5 percent compared to 2014 (14 percent before foreign exchange impact). And certainly that wasn’t all due to Magic: The Gathering. The boys category was up 10 percent and preschool (mostly Play-Doh) up 22 percent. Across categories, revenue from franchise brands grew 20 percent.

The girls category was down 16 percent, that attributed mostly to a drop in Furby sales.

But gamer or not, one couldn’t help but notice the attention that Magic received or the interest of analysts in how fans were responding to the new release schedule. Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, who also revealed that MtG experienced double-digit growth in the latest quarter, stated:

Thus far in the year, the engagement with fans and enthusiasts, the tournament play, and our effort and commitment to continue to improve the online experience with Magic: The Gathering is front and center at the company. It’s something we’re investing in. We think Magic long term has incredible growth potential and we’re just scratching the surface of the opportunity with that brand.

In the category—overall up 7 percent—Goldner described other games as “generally flatish”, except for Dungeons & Dragons, which is “really on a tear”.

Our first quarter performance reinforces that our strategy and approach to brand building is working. For the full-year, our teams are delivering innovative brands and executing against a robust entertainment slate, while facing a difficult foreign exchange environment. As we continue to invest around our brand blueprint, beginning with consumer insights to develop the right innovation and storytelling to engage the consumer across all forms and formats, the Hasbro team is delivering truly differentiated and compelling play experiences for consumers around the world.

Gen Con LLC released attendance numbers for Gen Con 2014, revealing that this year’s gaming convention is not only the largest of any convention held in Indianapolis, but it has also grown to be the largest (non-electronic) gaming event in the world.

In 2014, Gen Con’s turnstile attendance grew to 184,699 with 56,614 unique attendees. Internationale Speiltage SPIEL (often referred to as “The Essen Game Fair” or “Essen”) had 156,000 turnstile attendance in 2013, which was the trade show’s highest-attended year. Gen Con surpassed this mark that year with a turnstile attendance of 159,364.

Gen Con 2014’s unique attendance numbers are slightly higher than the Future Farmers of America’s last convention in Indianapolis. With FFA’s 2012 convention’s 56,176 attendees, Gen Con had just over 400 more unique attendees. FFA’s 2013 convention, held in Louisville, KY, had 62,998 unique attendees. In 2012, the Future Farmers of America’s last appearance in Indianapolis, they added $38 million into the local economy, compared to Gen Con 2013’s $47 million. The next largest convention in terms of economic impact to the city in 2013 was the FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference), with $35 million.

While the actual economic impact of Gen Con 2014 will not be known until later this year, the increase of 14% in growth may reach past the $50 million mark.


This article was edited to clarify that Gen Con has grown to be the largest non-electronic gaming convention. 

panel_title-c0791275b63779eaf508f5e26415a52dEven with expanding the exhibition space by 14%, Gen Con Indy 2014 has sold out of Exhibit Hall space even faster than the prior year. The 2013 Exhibit Hall sold out of space in mid-February, the earliest the convention had done so. The current waiting list for the 2014 Exhibit Hall is more than 30 companies.

Gen Con Indy 2013 had an approximate 20% increase in convention attendees and a 12% increase in number of exhibitors over 2012. “Gen Con’s back-to-back years of record breaking attendance propelled them into generating $36 million in direct and indirect spending, and $47 million when including ‘induced’ spending,” said Lisa Wallace of Visit Indy, Indianapolis’ convention and tourism agency. Compared to other conventions in Indianapolis, Gen Con Indy has the largest economic impact to the city. While FFA (Future Farmers of America) remains the largest convention in terms of attendees with 55,000 people attending, it will be in Louisville, KY, until returning to Indianapolis in 2016. FFA 2012 added $38 million to the local economy compared to Gen Con Indy 2013’s $47 million. In 2013, the FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference) generated an economic impact of $35 million.

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As we approach the holiday shopping season (I’ve seen Christmas trees in stores already), the Journal of Commerce reports that U.S. toy imports were down 9 percent in August and September compared to last year. For 2011 through September, the total was 7.6 percent less than 2010. According to the article, this drop is the result of reduced demand and cautious retailers, as well as increased costs from the main source of toy imports, China.

The Journal of Commerce explains that 89 percent of containerized toy imports this year have come from China. Toy imports peak in October. In September, toys were the second largest containerized import commodity.

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Gencon LLC Files Chapter 11

GenconGen Con LLC, the company behind the popular Gen Con Indy convention, filed for bankruptcy on Friday. According to the press release distributed by the company, the bankruptcy will not affect any of Gen Con’s currently scheduled events. The press release is not specific, noting only that the bankruptcy is related to “attempts to expand its core business to encompass externally licensed events,” but there has been some speculation that the bankruptcy is related to the lawsuit recently filed against Gen Con by Lucasfilm. Given the company’s own explanation, this interpretation seems entirely reasonable.

(Gen Con, via GameGrene)

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