Florida Supercon: "The Biggest Geek Party in Florida" Moves to Miami Beach
Calling all geeks, cosplayers, gamers, and all other manner of super fan! It's midsummer, and Florida Supercon is almost upon us. This year's four-day festival celebrating all things geek makes its debut at the Miami Beach Convention Center from Thursday July 3 through Sunday, July 6.
Photo by Christina Mendenhall
We caught up with Florida Supercon's fearless leader, Mike Broder, about what's in store for this year, why it's called Supercon (the original was full of Superman-related guests), and who his favorite cosplayer has been so far.
New Times: Could you give us a brief history of Florida Supercon? How'd it get its start?
Mike Broder: I am a fan. I have been going to conventions since I was about 9 or 10. I have a background of attending the shows, I've owned comic stores, and I've been a collector. I've been in the business, so to speak. I had gotten into the film business, and I was at point where I was out of it and I had to find something else to do. This was in 2006. I said, I would really, really love to put on a show, a comic convention.
The only comic-con type event at the time was in Orlando. People were saying it had to be in Central Florida, [that] South Florida was a pit, there's no culture here... [that] they don't care about this stuff [in South Florida], and they're wrong about that. I said, "You're out of your mind! I think it'll work."
So, we did it. In 2006, we did it in a small hotel in Fort Lauderdale Beach, and we got real lucky. We drew 1,500 people, and it was a success. And it was, "Alright, we got a thing. Let's keep doing this." People just kept coming. So, now there's more planning, more people involved. Now, it's a machine. We're expecting 40,000 people next week. From 1,500 in 2006 to 40,000 in 2014, it's a different world.
Holy hell, that's a lot of people! Is that what inspired the move to the Miami Beach Convention Center?
Were you there on Saturday last year? We ran out of parking. We did some insane things to get people parked, and it still wasn't enough. The venue (the Miami Airport Convention Center) only has 2,600 parking spots. I love the MACC, the people that work there are awesome, we're having multiple events there this year -- we wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for that building -- but it's not big enough. We had too many people. We had about 30,000 people there last year.
We met with the city the day after Supercon. I drove to the Beach, I met with the building, I met with the city, and I said, "You got me. How do we do this?" It's the biggest building in South Florida. We're using half the building, so there's room to grow.
Were there any other options?
Well, we looked at Fort Lauderdale, but Fort Lauderdale doesn't work. The convention [center there] has 190,000 square feet in total space for the show. The two halls we're taking up [at the Miami Beach Convention Center] are 264,000 square feet, and there's room to go to 500,000. And [Fort Lauderdale has] parking for 2,600 spots. Why does that number sound familiar? It's the same as we had the MACC. Where are we gonna park them?
There was also the Fairgrounds in Miami. It's nice, but it still doesn't have enough space. They have other events going on throughout the summer, so we wouldn't be able to get all of it. I'm not putting people outside in tents in the middle of the summer! It's inhumane and it's obscene to put people outside in costumes.