Background & History
The Chicago Worldcon Bid was incorporated in 2003 for the purpose of organizing another World Science Fiction Convention ("Worldcon") in Chicago.
Section 184.108.40.206 of the constitution of the World Science Fiction Society
("WSFS") requires that a Worldcon bid must document "the rules under which the Worldcon Committee will operate, including a specification of the term of office of their chief executive officer or officers and the conditions and procedures for the selection and replacement of such officer or officers." The by-laws
of the Chicago Worldcon Bid were filed to meet this requirement.
WSFS defines the rules by which Worldcons are chosen (Article IV of the WSFS constitution) and defines some required activities of the Worldcon (Article II), but does not actually run the conventions. Each Worldcon is run by a separate organization, usually incorporated as a non-profit society, and in the United States typically set up as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. In some places, an ongoing corporation is set up to run successive Worldcons in the same area (e.g. MCFI in Boston, SCI-FI in southern California), but the tradition in Chicago has been to set up a separate corporation for each Worldcon.
In years past, a "zone system" was defined with three regions which allowed venues in North America to bid for a Worldcon only once each three years, with Chicago being the largest city in the central zone. Chicon IV was held in 1982, Chicon V was held in 1991, and Chicon 2000 was held in 2000. Following this tradition, Chicago fandom organized a bid to host a Worldcon in 2009, to be voted on at L.A.con IV
in Los Angeles, with a bid launch at Torcon III
in Toronto. At Torcon, an amendment to the WSFS constitution was offered to change the site selection vote to happen two years before the convention, rather than three years. In 2004, Columbus and Japan were bidding to host the Worldcon in 2007. If the Worldcon had been in Columbus in 2007, this would have been within the 500-mile exclusion zone and would have made a Chicago bid for 2009 ineligible. Out of respect for Columbus fandom, to prevent voters from choosing the Japan bid for the convenience of the Chicago bid, the Chicago bid decided to choose a different year. Our of respect for Los Angeles fandom who was expecting Chicago to be throwing parties at LACon, and for Australian fandom who had already declared a bid for Australia in 2010, the Chicago bid choose to change their bid to 2008, rather than continue with 2009 or change to 2010. At Noreascon Four, the amendment was ratified to abolish the zone system. In 2005, Columbus fandom decided to re-launch their bid for 2008, and a bid emerged for Denver as well. In a close vote at LAcon, the Denver bid was chosen to host the 2008 Worldcon. After LAcon, the Chicago Worldcon Bid committee decided to continue the organization and to bid again in 2012. The new bid was launched in 2008 and was chosen in an unopposed vote at Aussiecon 4
in Melbourne in 2010.
Based on the experience of past Chicago and other Worldcons, this organization was set up to have a strong and relatively autonomous chair. The corporation serves to monitor the convention, not to micromanage it. Board meetings are short, infrequent, and informal, as the board is actively involved in the convention committee, allowing a routine process of discussion and consultation within the concom to assist the chair in running the convention. The corporate structure and by-laws are intended to serve as a failsafe to replace the chair in the event the chair becomes unavailable to run the convention, or as a last resort in the event of unexpected management failure by the chair.