LeftField Media, the new event company co-founded last year by former Reed SVP Greg Topalian (see “Greg Topalian Founds Leftfield Media”), has made its first acquisition in the geek culture space, snapping up Awesome Con, the Washington, D.C.-based convention founded in 2013. Founder Ben Penrod will stay with the show, which attracted over 40,000 attendees (turnstile) in 2015.
LeftField will be able to bring a new level of content to Awesome Con; LeftField hired Peter Tatara, who ran 400 hours of programming for New York Comic Con, earlier this year (see “NYCC Content Director Goes to Company Started by Former Reed Exec”).
“We look forward to taking Awesome Con to the next level with new publisher relationships and exciting new entertainment properties, and growing it into something even more awesome,” Topalian said of the plan.
Awesome Con had aspirations of creating shows in multiple cities, launching a con in Indianapolis and announcing and then canceling a show in Milwaukee in 2014. But Awesome Con pulled back to DC in 2015, and there are no plans to take the show on the road. “He identified a great market,” Topalian said in an interview, “so our energy is going to be around making DC that much better.”
Topalian acknowledged that LeftField might acquire other shows in the space, but was moving slowly because “it’s a crowded market.”
“We’re not sitting her saying we’re going to end up with a large portfolio of comic conventions,” he said. “I’m not saying it will be the only thing we do, but we’re not in a race to collect shows…. If the right opportunity comes up, we might get involved in other similar situations.”
LeftField joins Informa, which acquired MegaCon earlier this year, Topalian’s former employer ReedPop, which acquired Emerald City Comic Con, and Wizard World among event companies rolling up or starting shows in the geek culture space in 2015 (see “Con Roll-Ups Accelerating”).