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Celebrating the best of comic books, movies, anime, and more, Awesome Con has rapidly transformed from a local convention into one of the East Coast's largest fandom conventions! In partnership with LeftField Media, the convention began to see phenomenal growth. However, this success was not sustainable with their previous ticketing partner due to inflexibility and lack of needed features. Since using Ticketleap Pro (formerly ShowClix) and now Leap Conventions, Awesome Con has been empowered more than ever to welcome tens of thousands of fans each year and remain a significant player in the comic con world.


About Awesome Con

Ben Penrod, the co-founder and COO of Awesome Con, embarked on his remarkable journey in the comic book trade back in the mid-2000s. Starting with buying and selling rare comic books on eBay and launching his online store, Ninja Pirate Gear, Ben eventually converted his passions into live events with Annapolis Comic-Con and the Southern Maryland Comic-Con. Their resounding success paved the way for Penrod to host his first Awesome Con in Washington D.C. in 2013. As a result of its incredible growth over its first few years, Awesome Con joined forces with LeftField Media to create sensational face-to-face events that truly put fans at the heart of the experience!

Now, as one of the largest fandom conventions on the East Coast, Awesome Con now welcomes tens of thousands of passionate fans for three action-packed days of pure awesomeness. This premiere comic and pop culture convention celebrates all aspects of geekdom including comic books, movies, anime, fantasy, and more! Fans can dive into the world of authentic movie props, experience the vibrant Pride Alley that celebrates the LGBTQ community, as well as explore Future Con, Awesome Con’s captivating attraction where science meets science fiction. “We’ve grown from being a local comic event to being a national player in the comic con place,” said Penrod. “The enthusiastic support from fans has consistently exceeded even our wildest hopes for Awesome Con.”

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Not-so-awesome challenges appear

After partnering with LeftField Media, Awesome Con experienced rapid growth. What started as a humble local convention was evolving into a major annual event that attracted fans from across the globe! However, amidst this exciting expansion, their team encountered significant obstacles that demanded their attention. The primary challenge was their previous ticketing partner's inflexibility and inability to meet their evolving needs. “Our ticketing provider had no willingness to be flexible with us, which, as time progressed, became more and more of a hindrance to our success,” Penrod said. Now, let’s dig deeper into what these obstacles entailed for Awesome Con.

Challenge #1: Underwhelming merch sales

As Awesome Con grew, the team anticipated a proportionate increase in merchandise sales. However, they were disappointed to find that this was not the case. Their previous ticketing partner did not offer the ability to upsell additional products, such as apparel and souvenirs, during the online checkout process. Limiting this merchandise to exclusively onsite sales restricted the volume that they could sell, resulting in lost revenue.  “We knew the fans wanted event merch,” Penrod explained, “but we also knew we needed a more convenient way for them to purchase it.”

Challenge #2: Lack of show day support

With its roots as a smaller local convention, Awesome Con quickly drew in thousands of new attendees. However, this surge in popularity presented new challenges onsite, magnifying the shortcomings of their previous ticketing partner. Lengthy admission queues, congested exhibitor areas, and poor crowd flow became pressing concerns for Awesome Con. To overcome these obstacles, they needed a partner capable of providing real-time technical support and expert event operations guidance.

Challenge #3: Need for fan support

As Awesome Con's attendance skyrocketed, it became apparent that the event required additional support for their attendees. With a relatively lean team, it became extremely difficult to manage the increasing number of fans seeking assistance with ticket purchases and general event questions. “We needed to offer a seamless support experience for our attendees,” Penrod explained. “If we were going to have outside help, we wanted to make sure that the people assisting our attendees were just as knowledgeable about Awesome Con as us.” Unfortunately, the previous ticketing partner failed to meet the pressing needs of the Awesome Con team.

Leap's powerful solutions save the day

To provide an exceptional experience for their dedicated fans, Awesome Con sought a ticketing partner capable of delivering a seamless attendee experience from the moment they purchase their ticket to the moment they leave the convention. Seeing that various other fandom conventions found tremendous success by partnering with TicketLeap Pro, a Leap Event Technology enterprise ticketing platform, the LeftField Media team recommended that Awesome Con follow suit. “TicketLeap Pro [formerly ShowClix] is a strong platform,” Penrod said.“The entire team is reliable, hands-on, and willing to do whatever possible to make our event a success.”



Increase in ticket revenue since switching to TicketLeap Pro


YoY increase in online merchandise sales


Hours of on-site training and support in 2017


Total phone and email requests resolved in 2017

*Data collected from Awesome Con’s 2017 convention

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Solution #1: Merch upsells

To supercharge their merchandise sales, Awesome Con effectively implemented the Upsell feature in their TicketLeap Pro online checkout. By presenting customers with a pop-up window offering a range of merchandise options (including lanyards and t-shirts), they skillfully connected fans with relevant suggestions, resulting in a significant uptick in sales. “Because we had so many pre-event merch sales in 2017, we ended up having to put in an extra merch order to be sure we would have inventory left for on-site sales,” Penrod commented. “The positioning of these upsells as a pop-up in our online checkout has had a great effect.”

Solution #2: Onsite event support

TicketLeap Pro provided an Event Operations team that offered assistance before and during the event. The team traveled to the venue to support and train volunteers on badge fulfillment, admission procedures, and box office sales. “If our staff were to run into any technical challenges or unique situations, it’s a huge relief knowing there’s somebody with us on-site at the event," said Penrod. TicketLeap Pro’s expert team provided invaluable insights on Awesome Con’s event day procedures, going the extra mile to streamline their check-in process and effectively manage their crowd control.“It’s great to have somebody with so much live event experience there, who also understands how the system works best with our type of event,” Penrod explained. “Being able to run ideas past them or ask for suggestions about onsite operations is a true asset.”

Solution #3: Expert event call center

To support the influx of thousands of new fans, Awesome Con smartly partnered with TicketLeap Pro’s fully-staffed call center and email support team. With their experience handling over-the-phone ticket sales, addressing event-related questions, processing ticket exchanges, and more, TicketLeap Pro's support team became an invaluable extension of the Awesome Con team. “With our rapid growth, we were thrilled to be able to count on TicketLeap Pro’s all-inclusive call center to represent our brand to our attendees so we could focus on other tasks,” said LeftField Media President, Kelly Comboni. “For our fans, the experience is seamless, and they get the support they need.”

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“Leap Event Technology is always willing to go above and beyond for us. Any time something comes up, or we have questions, we know they’ll always be there. We can rely on them to make sure our event runs smoothly and our fans receive the ultimate event day experience.”

Ben Penrod

Co-Founder and COO of Awesome Con

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How Leap continued to elevate Awesome Con

Leap's collaboration with Awesome Con in 2017 was only just the beginning of this epic partnership! In 2021, Awesome Con switched their ticketing over to our dedicated convention solution, and their expansion didn’t stop there. Fast forward to 2024, we saw a huge opportunity to enhance the Awesome Con experience with our innovative mobile app solution. Our app empowered attendees to interact with content that personalized their experiences and left them wanting more. Not only that, our solution gave fans easy access to event guidance right at their fingertips. Now, let's delve into how our app helped level up Awesome Con’s experiences even further.

Filtered registration process

Thanks to the addition of Leap Attendee Engagement (our activations and mobile app solutions), Awesome Con could offer tailored recommendations to fans based on their registered interests and preferences. This better personalized each attendee’s experience, delivering them the targeted content they want without being overwhelmed by all the options to choose from. Fans could easily discover what's new at Awesome Con, a valuable feature for seasoned attendees looking for a fresh experience.

Targeted push notifications

For the 2024 season and beyond, our solution allowed Awesome Con to send real-time custom updates and notifications directly to fans' mobile devices. This kept attendees in the loop at all times about schedule changes, special events, and exclusive offers. This not only helped to keep attendees informed about events and panels related to their specific interests but also got them even more excited about those specific activities.


Awesome Con also saw a rise in attendance at shared content panels. When the main show reached maximum capacity and interested attendees couldn’t get in, the app suggested similar events nearby for them to join instead. By delivering targeted push notifications, fans could make the most out of their Awesome Con experience which led to year-over-year attendance increases for premium experiences.

Highlighted sponsors to targeted groups

Our mobile app’s personalization features also created an additional revenue stream for Awesome Con. They capitalized on selling prime advertising spaces in the app to sponsors and exhibitors, targeting attendees interested in their specific niche. Additionally, our push notifications also served as a unique sponsorship opportunity for vendors and exhibitors to reach their target audience directly. This approach not only helped boost Awesome Con's earnings in 2022 but also facilitated a direct connection between sponsoring exhibitors and their ideal fans.

Looking ahead

As Awesome Con celebrates new fandoms and expands their following, they continue to partner with Leap Event Technology's solutions to elevate their events to this day! Our cutting-edge system and incredible support team provide Awesome Con with the personalized support they need to help facilitate their continued growth and showcase their product add-ons, from merchandise to advanced ticket sales. Together, Awesome Con and Leap’s solutions (including Leap Conventions, Leap Attendee Engagement, and TicketLeap Pro) will provide attendees with a superheroic fan experience.


Born out of a passion for live events, Leap deeply understands and anticipates their partners’ needs to better fulfill the role of trusted event technology partner. With its powerful functionality and comprehensive service offerings, Leap Conventions and Leap Attendee Engagement consistently add value to every step of Awesome Con's journey. “Their customizable system and personalized support continues to be a great resource for us,” Penrod said. “They listen to what we need and they make it happen. We love that.”


Looking ahead, Leap Event Technology is not only going to continue supporting Awesome Con as they grow – our comprehensive solution can also enhance your events too! Interested in discovering how? Reach out to our team to find out how we can elevate your event experiences!


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