Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 25, 2014

Festivals Extra: Two Shows Claim Significant 2014 Growth

Two of the recent shows have claimed massive growth for 2014: Awesome Con in DC announced a 250 percent boost in attendance, while Salt Lake City's FanXperience is claiming over 100,000 in attendance as well as the third-biggest-con status in the US. Some have openly questioned the Salt Lake City number, citing reports from the floor and photos that don't show the massive crowds relative to what a San Diego or a New York Comic-Con boasts with similar or even greater exhibition and programming space. This could be because of the way the numbers are counted, whether you count each day's attendees as distinct (a three-day attendee as three attendees) or just count people on hand no matter how many days they walk through the doors (a three-day attendee as one attendee).

What's clear is that both cons experienced growth and that conventions in general continue to be popular with a very specific crowd of genre fans, some of whom are interested in comics. It's also clear that a lot of these convention are aimed at local or regional attendees. That may seem obvious, but there was conventional wisdom years ago that a significant part of each convention's attendance came from people that went to all the shows, or the majority. I don't think that's true now that we're stacking cons and festivals into the same weekends or at least the same month in vastly different locales. I think there's still a lot of growth to be had, particularly with hyper-local shows like Linework NW and specific-company shows like Image Expo, and I wouldn't be surprised to a dozen to two dozen more take the model out for a spin in the next two to three years.
posted 1:39 am PST | Permalink

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