Only in its ninth year, NYCC surpasses its older west coast counterpart—which was forced to cap their attendance at 130,000 due to reaching the capacity of the San Diego Convention Center, pouring additional events into nearby hotels and Petco Park. Last year, NYCC pushed the limits with 133,000, but Lance Fensterman, ReedPOP Global Senior Vice President, said that by expanding Thursday into a full day this year, they were able to sell another day's worth of tickets.
Ticket sales for NYCC totaled around $600 million, according to Eventbrite, an online ticketing and events service. Revenue from ticket sales increased 40 percent this year over 2013 as attendance continues to rise.
The major expansion of New York Comic Con has been met with plenty of criticism from ticket demands and the focus pulling away from comic books. However, the economic impact of the convention grew to $70 million last year, ReedPOP stated. In an effort to address the lack of focus on comics, ReedPOP started Special Edition: NYC, a smaller convention held in the summer focused solely on comic books and their creators.
New York Comic Con planners further expanded the annual pop-culture event beyond the Javits Center's walls for the inaugural New York Super Week, a week-long series of 110 events held at 25 venues across New York City leading up to New York Comic Con. The 10 day extravaganza featured everything from An Evening with the Cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along and Joss Whedon-themed Party.
"The investment is well worth north of a million dollars to get this going," Fensterman told the New York Times. "We were not shy about launching this thing." The ambitious ReedPOP VP said he hopes the convention will reach the height of other New York events such as Fashion Week. "We want this to be an anchor in the fall."
Convention attendance has seen a surge in recent years, partially due to the growing popularity of comic-to-film and comic-to-televion. Reminiscent of San Diego Comic Con, tickets for this year's NYCC sold out within an hour, but not before completely crashing the server. Fans were left disappointed and furious with the amount of tickets that were being sold for $200+ on Craigslist and Ebay, while others waited in line for over 24 hours to grab retail tickets in August.
With max crowds, ReedPOP tested its new Main Stage Clearing policy to help ease the heavy flow of panels with the use of panel-specific wristbands, but even that saw panels close as soon as the convention doors opened.
Attendance at New York Comic Con has steadily grown since 2006, starting with only 33,000. As the convention continues to grow, reaching the capacity of the Javits Center where it was held from Oct. 9 through 12, Fensterman and other organizers closed the show to field questions, complaints, and compliments from attendees—many of which centered on ticket sales and the difficulty of getting into panels.
|Graph provided by Business Insider|
ReedPOP announced this weekend that they will be bringing a comic book convention to Paris next year. The next New York Comic Con has already been scheduled for October 8-11, 2015. Special Edition: NYC is set for June 13-14, 2015 at the Javits Center.
Did you have fun at NYCC this year? What was your favorite panel or cosplay?
What do you think about the increase in crowds?
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