The Atlantic City Fan Xpo (ACFX) at the Showboat Hotel has been put on hold. Organizers behind the weekend series that was geared towards the millennial demographic explain on their website, “Due to matters beyond our control we are postponing operations until further notice.”
No specific information for the abrupt canceling was made available. And after social media fans demanded answers, ACFX staff provided few further details.
“Folks, we love Atlantic City and we love the amazing Jersey Shore,” the Atlantic City Fan Xpo wrote on Facebook. “We are on hold. As soon as we can, we will let you know what is going on.”
ACFX was to consist of 15 themed weekends, with main topics ranging from eSports and video games, to cosplay and anime. The convention series was a joint enterprise between Indiana-based Venturis Partners and Philadelphia’s SpectiCast Entertainment.
Millennials are the sought-after demographic for casinos, and figuring out a way to get them onto their gaming floors has been a difficult venture.
Not as keen on pure games of chance as the predecessors, skill-based gambling, eSports, and other videogame-based formats have a much wider appeal to the 20 and 30-something crowd.
The Atlantic City Fan Xpo was thought to be one way to get the generation to the oceanfront gambling town. Its abrupt cancelation hints that it might not have worked.
Showboat owner Bart Blatstein, who purchased the shuttered resort in January of 2016 for $23 million, hoped to make his hotel a millennial playground. ACFX took over the property’s convention center space, as well as the former 3,000-seat House of Blues theater.
But with just 2,500 fans on its Facebook page, it seems enthusiasm fell short of expectations. Blatstein and the organizers aren’t publicly saying what led to the cancelation, but a good guess might be that the expo simply couldn’t justify ongoing rental fees without adequate attendance.
Show Mustn’t Go on at Showboat
ACFX closed almost as soon as it opened.
The Atlantic City Fan Xpo officially got underway over the Memorial Day weekend with a “Fan Preview.” The three days of events included gaming competitions, a board game library featuring over 2,000 titles, cosplay contest, and the chance the meet comic book and eSports celebrities.
The next weekend was geared toward “locals,” with residents from New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York granted free admission.
The weekend was similar to the first with video game tournaments and cosplay, but focused more on movies. The final theme before the ACFX closed was “Board Gaming Weekend.”
A day pass to the convention show floor, vendor hall, and “dozens of indoor attractions within the Showboat Hotel” cost $19. A three-day weekend pass cost $49, while a summer pass for all ACFX weekends went for $299.
“We are providing refunds for advance ticket sales for any weekend for which we are not opening,” ACFX explained. However, it’s unclear if season pass holders will be partially reimbursed.