(Topic ID: 211751)

This Week in Pinball: What is going on with Expo? Hear from Rob and Mike Pacak

By pin2d

1 year ago

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  • 314 posts
  • 103 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Marvin
  • Topic is favorited by 25 Pinsiders


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    Topic index (key posts)

    2 key posts have been marked in this topic

    Post #243 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by goatdan (1 year ago)

    Post #284 copy of announcement from Rob Berk re: full ownership of the show Posted by Litedpinballmods (1 year ago)

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    #38 1 year ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    What is now considered the premiere pinball show? Texas Pinball Festival?

    I dont think there is one, but top 3 have to be TPF, MGC, and Arcade Expo.

    No particular order and all 3 offer something special and different (not been to Banning yet but will some day.)

    Chicago Expo has not been the premier show for at least a few years

    #43 1 year ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Good to know, thanks! Really want to go to TPF but can't make it this year. I'm considering going to MGC, looks like a fun show.

    MGC is electric with fun and energy. Honestly my favorite show just because there is so much to do (aracdes, pinball, board games, celebrities, game reveals, tournaments, cosplay, drunken orgies, just all fun all the time)

    #60 1 year ago

    Schaumberg is a WAY WAY better location and venue for this!

    I hope Rob can get this all together this year. Expo was dead/dying the past few years and I am excited to see a chance for something new to come from this.

    #67 1 year ago
    Quoted from TomGWI:

    You will have a good time. I will personally see to it.

    oh yeah!!!!

    #84 1 year ago

    'Flippers Major International Knowledge Experience'

    #93 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    So...I wonder which one Tilt Amusements plans on picking for this....whichever one it is will have an automatic 120 or so person advantage over the other, instantly. Which nobody cares about.

    I heard both...

    I am assuming that means you will go to both?

    #109 1 year ago
    Quoted from woody76:

    There has to be a compromise or fix to this.

    If the could not make it work after 30 some years, THANK GODNESS they are deciding to try something new separate.

    The first year will be tough on both, but guessing 1 (the new one) rises from the flames the following year.

    New show already has a better venue, if they also have the industry support from the big players, toss on a stellar tournament format, and can get the collector community to show up and support the free play then they will win out.

    If they are smartm then the first year is run with only the attempt to break even (or lose money). That alone will help them compared to a show where someone is attempting to make it their full time job.

    #131 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    Mike IS locked into the October dates. He's signed a contract with the Westin. To cancel that contract is many Tens of thousands of dollars (if not $100k). The original idea was that Berk would buy out Mike, and the show would continue at the Westin for at least this year. (They may have a contract signed for 2019 too, not sure on that.) But obviously that didn't work out.
    Pinball Expo IS mike. Mike does the majority of the back scene work. Berk has handled the seminars, and frankly not much more. Mike has done all the other stuff, including signing the contract with the Westin.
    Frankly i haven't seen the conflicts that people complain about. Mike has always been nice to me. But i don't vend and i don't bring games, so my mike exposure is different.
    Personally i love the Westin. I've been going to expo for over 25 years. I've seen all the hotels they've used (except for the very first two years), and the Westin is by far the best.
    Berk's history on show promotion is not good. Unless he makes some serious changes, he'll blow up the whole idea. Mike promotes not only Expo but the Ohio show too. He does a successful job on both. He has a track history of good shows.
    Having two shows, one month apart, just can't be good. It force people to take sides. It splits everything.
    My personal opinion is that Berk and Mike should work together, as they have, for at least 2018 (or how every long they have the Westin contract.) If they want to split, do it after the fact, and on good terms. Instead of this dumb split show thing.
    On the website... Berk has complete control of that. Even though it promotes Mike's show. Berk should transfer the URL ownership to Mike, and let mike re-do the website. Why hasn't that happened Mr. Berk??? If it never happens that will tell you something about the people involved...

    Seems to me that Berk knows exactly what he is doing in this case and honestly it seems to make the best business sense.\

    I wish both parties luck and all I really hope is that something better comes out of all this. It was time for the show to evolve or die.

    #134 1 year ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    Looks like a "land grab" going on for vendors/partners for both shows. Puts everyone in a bad spot.

    I really think it puts the customers in the best spot. First year will be rocky (like they would for any new show), but 1 will come out as the customer favorite for whatever reason. It is on each business to chart their path forward to try and entice the distributors, manufacturers, collectors, attractions, etc... that will make their show a success.

    #165 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    That remains to be seen. His arcade show wasn't a success and he had help with it.
    LTG : )

    yeah, I did not mean that he knows how to make this a success.

    I meant that I am guessing he has intent behind his actions for website, announcement, etc...

    #205 1 year ago
    Quoted from pinballlife:

    Remarkably low interest in this thread. Goes to show where "the center of the pinball universe" may actually lie (or not lie), IMHO.
    Might be time to move operations to Wisconsin.
    Benton-Pooluza anyone?

    Would be great but I dont think Benton could hos a couple thousand people at the local pub

    #219 1 year ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    Upon pondering this, in my opinion if "Rob quit the band" then he should stand down. Putting on a competing show in September won't work. Unless the goal is to run Mike out of the biz completely, through destroying everything since both shows will fail in their own ways.

    Two sides to every story and in this case they seem to be quite different. I would not chastize either without knowing the whole story, and unlikely any of us ever will.

    #229 1 year ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    Sides doesn't even matter. What matters is there will apparently be 2 pinball shows scheduled in Chicago a month apart and no one wins there.
    I get that a lot of people don't like Mike and want him annihilated.

    I don't really care for Mike and have been saying for years I want to see expo flourish and grow. Under Mikes influence it has been going down hill the past few years.

    I personally hope that Mike opts to sit the sidelines and bring in some new blood to liven things up. If this is the impetus needed to get at least one of these two shows jazzed up and something great, then treat this as a rebuilding year.

    I don't see any way that two chicago shows survive, but I how one vastly improved show comes from all this...

    2 weeks later
    #244 1 year ago
    Quoted from goatdan:

    Well, I guess I might as well let this come out now then...
    The other show at the Westin was going to be a second Midwest Gaming Classic.
    I'll take a minute to explain, and then I have a ton of stuff to do for the MGC in Milwaukee in a couple weeks, so I'm going to go back to doing that.
    Gary and I have been toying with running a second MGC show in the Chicago area for a few years now. As a matter of fact, both Rob and Mike knew of this plan and I've talked with both of them (as well as some people who run video game shows) and told them that the goal was to run a show like the Milwaukee show, but potentially smaller. We've looked at some locations and were hoping to start a show either in the second half of 2018 or 2019.
    When Rob made his intentions known, that same day Mike called me and said the he knew that I was interested in running a second show in the Chicago area, and that instead of running a second show to compete with Rob, would it make sense to turn the Pinball Expo Westin contract into the MGC "South" contract. Rob had made it clear that he did not want the contract at that point in time, and since the contract was executed by Mike it was believed Mike was left "holding the ball" so to speak for a contract that required them to sell an incredible amount of rules. Mike, completely understandably, was worried about how splitting the market at best would work, and if he could fill the contract, which was why he was hoping to work with us on it.
    Gary and I talked and were all for it. It would have solved a number of issues for us with the show being *exactly* six months later so we wouldn't have to work around the traditional Expo dates, and we could mold our show for whatever worked. If coin-op wanted to remain a big part of it, we could do that. If not, we could change up the contract to ensure that it was filled and Mike wasn't left holding a contract potentially for six figures from Rob having left.
    Mike was excited about the idea of us coming in to run the show. He had agreed to become an ambassador for us for the show, leaving Gary and I in charge of everything regarding the running of it. Mike would still bring in some of the traditional material that he supplied for Pinball Expo, but would otherwise get to kick back and do what he never got to do at Expo before - enjoy the show. Those that had issues in the past with anything Expo could instead work with Gary and I to hopefully feel comfortable with coming back to the show, and those who had wanted to remain doing the Expo thing could still feel like that was there.
    It felt perfect to us - a way to start the second show that we've been working on and solve the issue of trying to have Mike run a second show needing to sell hundreds of rooms more than the show did last year. We were all but agreed...
    And then... There was apparently a pre-existing deal in place for them to buy out Expo from one another, and from what I understand, Rob exercised his rights to do so. The purchase of the rights to Expo also purchased him the rights to the contract at the Westin, which based on all of his announcements and things that he had said he did not want. We had Mike talk to the hotel for us about changing the contract over to us if Rob bowed out like we expected.
    Rob apparently decided not to bow out, but instead to move his show to those dates.
    Ultimately, this means that I don't believe that there will be a second show this coming year, because the second show was intended to be a second show by us. Mike was completely understanding in agreeing to step down and hand over the control of the show. He wanted the show that he had helped build to continue in some way, and he wanted to be a part of it. Rob wants Mike to have no part in the show, and from what I understand has told him that he is unwilling to let him attend.
    I don't get it. I like Rob - heck, Rob and I talked about me coming in to help run Expo, but that didn't work out, but there seems to be a lot of petty stuff going on behind the scenes. I know that Mike is quite hurt by it all, and I get it. He feels like what he worked to build for so long has been completely taken from him. I also understand that Rob felt the need for the change, but I don't get why so much of this was done the way that it was. In talking to Mike, Mike was willing to step aside and bring in new people. I wish that had happened in one way or another so this all wouldn't feel so crappy.
    With that, I guess that the good news is I don't have to spend a bunch of time printing up flyers for a late 2018 Chicago based show. I'm glad the contract is going to be filled, and Mike isn't personally on the hook for six figures if it didn't work out. Although I definitely don't like how it all went down, I wish Rob and his show the best - heck, he'll be at MGC in a couple weeks and I'll tell him the same thing. It just seriously pains me to see a show that I looked up to so much go down in the way that it has at this point. I thought there was a solution that could make everyone happy, and it seems like that isn't going to be the case.
    Having said all that, if you like what we do up in Milwaukee, I have a strong, strong feeling that we'll be having a 2019 show in the Chicago area, dates TBD. The goal won't be to compete with Rob's show (or the video game fan shows that still exist ), the goal will be to do our own thing. And, while it will feel too late, I will welcome Mike (and Rob if he wants to come) with open arms to celebrate something that to me feels like the logical extension of the show that they started. We were heavily inspired to start the MGC after Pinball Expo after all, and one year a conversation that saved our show happened in the lobby of Expo.
    See you in 2019. Or in, like, 10 days, I suppose

    Thx forthe backend story. Wish you guys could have taken it all over.

    #250 1 year ago
    Quoted from GravitaR:

    Wow what a bombshell. Thoughts later after this is all digested.

    Does this mean the MI and OH contingent wont be supporting the new show? They were like 40% of the games last year it seemed.

    #255 1 year ago

    It sounds like it may be time to sit out this show completely and let things work themselves out for a year.

    My time off is too valuable to plan on even the extended weekend unless some big players in the community announce that they are going to make things happen around this. If Dan/Gary were doing MGC south I would have been all in as we know they are proven as good dudes that can put a show together. Without them and all the infighting (that sounds far from over), I am not sure what to think...

    #262 1 year ago
    Quoted from Trekie:

    Didn't Mike do the same with Gene C. wouldn't let him attend?

    is that true?

    (before my time)

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