Wizard World has undergone a lot of criticism over the last few years. They have been criticized by con goers for poor customer relations in almost every aspect from ticket sales and security procedures to celebrity photo ops. Then on top of it, they had some major internal problems.
In 2015, they had a disastrous convention in China and the year ended with a financial loss of $4.3 Million. In 2016, their Chief Marketing Officer was reported as stealing over $1 Million in merchandise and autographs, (addendum 5/10/17 16:15 Cst ) and then he retaliated with counter claims that executives were looting the company, however Wizard World, Inc. and former CMO Stephen Shamus resolved the lawsuit amicably where both parties found no wrongdoing.
They had read the writing on the wall in 2016 and had already started doing some housecleaning (previous writer comment retracted 5/10/17 16:15 Cst ) They shifted around their financial investments, reduced staff and most impressively reduced executive compensation. In April 2016, they also replaced CEO John Macaluso with former entertainment industry executive John Maatta.
They were going to come up short of funding for the 2017 show season, so to boost their finances they took a two-and-a-half million-dollar loan from Bristol Investment Ltd, at twelve and a half percent. All of this points to the fact that someone takes the business seriously and was working to turn things around.
Earlier this week I saw a post that snagged my attention, and was probably the best possible proof that someone is really working to improve Wizard World;
When a patron accidentally ran into CEO John Maatta and had an opportunity to explain their frustration with the show, John Maatta made an effort to improve their experience and correct the problems.
Thank you John Maatta for going above and beyond and for making my visit to your Wizard World Con Minneapolis a memorable one. – Kevin Workman
Apparently John Maatta is being extremely pro-active when it comes to the Wizard World conventions and plans to be at all, or at least most, of them for the remainder of this year.
Since the initial post, others have stepped forward regarding their excellent experiences at the the hands of John Maatta;
I had an issue with my Monkees photo op conflicting with my Capaldi meet and greet. They told me to go to the meet and greet, and look for them after.
When I did, the head of the Photo Ops, John, went and got Peter and Micky, and had them come back for a quick photo op. Made our weekend!
Now this is customer service!
If they keep going in this vein, they will win back a lot of fans. I look forward to seeing more improvements.