Just a few quick notes:
We already do support unofficial gaming on Wednesday by allowing some ticketed free events, mostly in the Crowne Plaza.
It would be somewhat difficult to actually use the ICC for events on Wednesday; there are plenty of people still setting up, and the convention center rental cost is different dependng on whether it is a set up, or event day.
I can't think off the top of my head of any other fan convention that has more than a 4 day Exhibit Hall. It may exist, but it's definitely the exception, and I would not expect Exhibitors to be in any way enthusiastic about a 5 day Exhibit Hall.
Definitely, I encourage people to consider running/participating in more events on Sunday; I think we can fit a lot more Gen Con in on that day. :)
Gen Con LLC
I personally wouldn't mind the convention officially lasting later on Sundays without
the exhibit hall being open after 4pm-- if that's the main problem. I love the exhibit hall for what it is, but I am still primarily there to PLAY games with other gamers.
Every year I show up and leave on Monday feeling kind of feeling cheated that I did not get enough bang for the buck on the Sunday. EVERY year, I wish events ran a little later into the evening, or at least minimum until 6pm; in some way, shape, or form.
I mostly do RPGs these days, but I'd rather not hear the argument of: get your own group together and find a place to game somewhere on Sundays after the con to make it all better -- I feel that's what I was spending my money for Gen Con to promote in the first place (ALL four days -- not half days). If Gen Con could provide the environment for actual gaming to continue on the Sunday (preferably until 8pm or 9pm) it would do wonders for the rest of us who are actually trying to stay and enjoy the Sunday. Maybe do some sort of thing like they do for the Wednesday evening before the convention in a limited way as a trial run.
All the other arguments about dealer hall issues, people leaving early issues, no show issues, ...stem from the fact that as an attendee you can only schedule a couple of events at most on Sundays so no one takes it seriously. Most people sleep in and think they might as well just skip out and go home early. Just the way I have been seeing it.
Gen Con should drop all of the side distractions after 4pm, and keep some strictly gaming areas open for events later in the day and I think you'd see a significantly marked improvement overall on the Sunday.
I'll give you a sample of how my Sunday goes every year as an example in order:
------I sleep in until a least 9am or 10am (depending on when the events I'm attending are held). I'm burned out from the rest of the convention, but I've got enough energy for later in the day as I go.
------I plan for 1 RPG event in the day (most run in 4hr or 6hr blocks of time). Since getting up at 7am to try and squeeze a second RPG event in for 8am would kill me and I'd have no final vendor hall time, I'll have to stick with just one RPG event.
------Then I'd do a final run of the vendor hall before 4pm.
------Then I stick my thumb up my bum after 4pm wishing that I could get into one more official Gen Con RPG event somewhere.
Pretty much like clockwork. -- Every. Single. Year. Man...
(* Just to note, that this is not meant as an attack/flame on Gen Con from me, just my personal observation that never seems to change. I don't need another day added onto Gen Con, but at least extend the actual Sunday gaming event times later into the day to some degree to take full advantage of it. That's all.)