NIS America — a game publisher that signed on to be an official sponsor of the GaymerX VIP party — recently told the event organizers it will not be able to pay the associated sponsorship fees, despite the organizers promoting NIS America at the conference, GaymerX CEO Matt Conn revealed today.
GaymerX is an LGBT-centric gaming conference that was held from July 11 to 13. The event was heavily reliant on sponsors, who agreed ahead of time to spend a certain amount of money on the conference in exchange for promotion at the event.
"They agreed to $3,000 to be the official sponsor of the VIP party and open bar," Conn told me today via email. "This was originally $5,000, which actually was 75% off the $20K asking, but we were desperate. We wanted to do a lot more, but basically we said 'all the drinks are paid for by NIS America' and we spent around 15K on the VIP party."
Conn tweeted the letter from the NIS representative, which cited budget problems and poor internal communication for the inability to fulfill the sponsorship deal. We are awaiting comment from NIS America representatives. It is unclear what the legal ramifications of the sponsorship pull-out are.
Conn provided the invoice that was sent to NIS America, as well as an email conversation wherein the NIS America rep quoted in the tweeted letter states, "We'd be happy to sign off on this."
"We were already in dire straits, but we were really relying on this $3K to pay for our artists who came and to take care of some of the outstanding hotel bills," said Conn. "This just further puts a nail into our coffin if we don't figure out a revenue stream very quickly."
Shortly after the conference, Conn and GaymerX president Toni Rocca expressed uncertainty over the event's future. The second iteration of GaymerX was a success from a programming standpoint, but the production of the event was fraught with financial uncertainty. Conn told me that they weren't sure if they could put on the event next year.
Conn noted that he felt NIS America's actions denote a poor attitude towards queer people. "I feel awful and betrayed," he said.
Conn told Polygon that NIS America has since reached out to him to discuss the situation further.
Disclosure notice — Matt Conn is a personal friend of the writer. Click here for Polygon’s ethics statement.