To me, in the end, most of these things come down to people.
When they banned Kris for no apparent valid reason, I was like 'feh, what are these people thinking'. Then I saw the guest list and also heard from some of the dealers I knew that they would not be attending.
I didn't go that year (family stuff). I did talk to a mom who went with her daughter and she enjoyed it (her daughter is really into MLP). Honestly I can't say it is a good match for me or that I would have enjoyed it had I gone.
A-list stars that haven't been seen in the US before, bring a couple of those and I will gladly pay $50. or even $100. to see them play.
I haven't seen their financials, don't know what the organization name or their 501(c) is. So it's hard to comment on anything from a financial or economic model perspective.