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New York Comic Con attendance hits San Diego-sized numbers

New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con reportedly attracted more than 130,000 attendees over four days, meaning the six-year-old event is now roughly the same size as Comic-Con International, which has had to cap attendance because of space limitations. Last year, NYCC drew about 116,000 people; in 2007, its inaugural event, there were just 15,000. receives the news from Lance Fensterman, global vice president of organizer ReedPOP, who lays out some of the changes this year, including a reduction in the number of three-day passes (allowing more new people to attend each day), and the use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) to try to clamp down on fraudulent badges and badge-sharing among exhibitors.

“I think we had wildly underestimated our fraudulent ticket issue,” Fensterman told tells the website.  “We had the exact same number of ticketed people per day as last year, but if you looked at the common spaces, they were 40 percent less congested. We had a pretty big counterfeit problem.”

The institution of RIFD didn’t occur without some hiccups, however: As Comic Book Resources reported on Friday, many attendees were upset to learn that, when they picked up their badges and scanned a code on the back (ostensibly to reduce counterfeiting and to activate an offer from comiXology), they had given ReedPOP authorization to access their Twitter and Facebook accounts to send promotional messages about the event. In response to widespread negative reaction, organizers shuttered the service and apologized “for any perceived overstep.”

New York Comic Con’s attendance figures arrive only days after the California Coastal Commission approved plans for the $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, which would add 749,000 square feet of convention space, as well as a five-acre rooftop park, a waterfront promenade with retail shops and restaurants, and a second, 500-room tower to the adjacent Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. The project still faces obstacles in the form of a lawsuit opposing the hotel-room tax implemented to pay for part of the project, and likely another challenging the commission’s approval.

Comic-Con International organizers, who have been wooed by larger venues in Los Angeles and Anaheim, California, last year extended their convention center lease through 2016, with the hope that the expansion would break ground in 2014 and be completed by 2018. According to Variety, “conversations are now under way” to tack another year to Comic-Con’s lease.

New York Comic Con2014 is scheduled for Oct. 9-12.



I went on Thursday and Sunday this year. Last year Thursday was fantastic because it was a perk of a four day pass. This year with the sale of Thursday only tickets it packed and not as enjoyable. Not to mention the fact that the exhibitors were not in full force at opening. Sunday, however, was fantastic crowded but not packed.

Another aggravating thing was that the professional panels started at 12:00. However, the convention crew would not let anyone in until 12:00. How was I supposed to get from the Blue entrance up top down to the panel rooms on the opposite side of the building instantly? I managed to talk my way through but the result was a first panel where the room had about 12 people at the start. About 15 minutes in the room started to fill up. This was incredibly stupid and flat out rude for the convention planners to do to the people who presented panels at 12:00. It was also rude to the teachers who came for professional development. Better planning is necessary in this area.

What is your source for the attendance figure?
Ah… I see… the link doesn’t work.

Also, the first NYCC in 2006 had 33,000 UNIQUE attendees (that is, 33,000 different people attended, not counting each day’s attendance as an attendee).

ReedPOP did increase the number of individual tickets, which does raise the number of unique attendees. (I believe CCI:SD uses the same metric.) Reed balances this with offering just enough multi-day passes (which do not sell out as quickly as SD.)

Almost every space in Javits had good crowds (except for the queue hall, for obvious reasons). Hall 1B, which was rather empty last year, was packed deep with autographing lines, but was not difficult to navigate. (The connection to 1A was also nice in moving traffic away from the entrance to 1A.)

Crowded? Yes. Impossible to move? No. (But I did avoid the show floor on Saturday.)

The show floor, as always, was insane. It DID seem a little less congested than last year though. Last year, I felt like some animal being herded from one table or booth to the next. It was like a river of people. This year, it was still super crowded, but you could get where you wanted without being stuck in a prolonged jam of people.

As s far as numbers go, I do believe the increased number of unique, paying attendees. Those old badges were just too easy to fake. The RFID ones may be a pita, but they’re more secure. I think that it’s possible for the numbers to be up this year and still have the venue not seem as crowded.

Gotta take this article with a grain of salt though. As you said, NYCC started up in 2006, not 2007, and the official tally for 2006 was double what’s being reported here. CBR’s fact checking can be bit spotty at times.

The “Twitter” incident mentioned. It wasn’t based off the RFID scanning. It was based on data and people complaining because they were stupid enough to agree to allow Reed to publish as them on twitter. It was clearly laid out in the text. So when “Thursday” or “Friday” rolled around and they know if which day you had by registering. Their system would automatically send out a tweet regardless of you showing up or not.

The RFID badges unless Reed puts some money into the system will be counterfeited next year. Counterfeiters could of done it this year if they had any knowledge of how it worked. The big unknown was how Reed was going to use that little RFID chip. Which was half-assed to say.

Wasnt that bad. Of course i spent most of my time in artist alley and was only on the exhibitors floor a couple of times. Friday for Kirkman and Saturday for the Dan Slott and Joe Quesada signing.

Luke from Warwick, NY

October 14, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Comparing this year to last year, NYCC was much more easy to navigate, for a variety of reasons. I think the RFID pass worked great, and being able to enter at 34th Street, instead of being shifted four blocks north was a real convenience. That also opened up the outdoor space at the north end for food, punkin’ chunkin’ (I really wish they could have let just a few fly!) and just getting some fresh air without having to go through security hassles. This year the only things that I had issues with were people with rollerbags on the exhibition floor, and parents who insist on holding hands with their children on Sunday, and thus blocking the aisles. Hell, they made it to Comic Con, if they get lost, they’ll probably learn something from it. Can’t shelter them forever, eh?

On the plus note, The Block was tremendous this year – fantastic stuff. I loved it!

Recommendation for next year? Hark back to the old days, and have a Movie Room, showing some of the good old stuff, and also providing a nice, dark place to sit. Bring out the old Superman Cartoons, and some serials, and we’re good as gold!

Suitcases & luggage w/ wheels were prohibited on the show floor yet I saw 3 ppl in a row w/ them, slowing everyone down. You still cannot enter on 34th unless you’re a professional, vip, press or 4 day holder..everyone has to enter on 37th but the fact that you scan early near the sidewalk area & then, can wait around in front of the javits’ glass doors area reduced overcrowding & the bottleneck of waiting in line to enter the con. Plus, Reedpop should allow ppl to enter/exit from the artists alleys’ north pavilion sliding doors; its stupid to make everyone go through the congested tunnel & into the main lobby; I understand it’s to reduce ppl sneaking in & etc..but have badge scanners & people there too- you see the same security guards just sitting there all wknd, turning you away..The Block was well-lit (compared to last year’s dreary eyesore orange ambience) & slightly more maneuverable than last year. Way too many cosplayer groups who’re inconsiderate & stop entire paths of people walking just to take a 3 min photo. This happened near the block, where space is already limited & dimly lit, along with people in front of you who stop & gawke for the entire time, leaving everyone waiting behind w/ no clear path to escape…argh…if only fellow cosplayers & congoers decided to step onto the side, then stare & pose for as long as they’d like…..

Also, phone reception, along with receiving calls & texts were fine in the building (not to mention I have the worst provider btw), contrary to reports that all the available bandwidth & concentrated devices in a tight space would interfere w/ each other. Plus, nobody cared if you had a badge around your neck at “all times” like Reed’s policy- on a Thurs, I had the badge in my pocket the entire time w/ no issues. In addition, Reed never had any “patrol folks walking around scanning your badge”. Let’s hope Reed will keep this $40 Sun price point in the future, yet its very unlikely..($35 for 2012’s Sun. I believe..) RFID w/in badges drove up the price per ticket this year for Fri’s thru Suns; I believe an extra $5 those days but $65 for 3 days stayed the same like last yr. It’d be scary if patrol walked around w/ tablets & could see blips of RFID #s & if you stood near them & didn’t appear, they’d know you had a counterfeit badge. Clearly, Reed will have a field day w/ all its data it collected over the wknd; I read on a blog post it’s a marketing analysts’ dream- you know what booths are popular, where people like to eat, what artists are popular & visited the most, where people spend the most $, their tastes, which booths hold a congoers’ attention the longest (maybe given by how stationary that blip is near an exhibit) & then charge premium prices for those booths in the future or decided which artist 2 have as a guest/exhibitor/comic retailer to bring back next yr…plain business & marketing folks..kinda like Facebook data but in real time! It was nice to have Marc Silvestri visit & but lets hope to attract Todd Mcfarlane, even though he came yrs ago (its probably inconvenient for West coast artists but it was refreshing!)

They also need to fix the issues with panels. If you want to see a big panel like The Walking Dead, it is almost impossible. People come in 5 panels earlier and sit there all day. We waited in line for hours only to be turned away. Each panel should be cleared out and you should be forced to wait in line like the rest of us. Or maybe use some sort of ticket system.

Numbers seem a bit questionable. Clearly NYCC wants to hit the number so they sold fewer 3 day passes. Question is, if one person bought 3 1 day passes are they then counted 3 times? In SD they are only counted once as it ties to their Member ID regardless.

It’s great if they actually had 130,000 attendees but I suspect the number is lower in reality.

” If you want to see a big panel like The Walking Dead, it is almost impossible. People come in 5 panels earlier and sit there all day.”

It’s been that way at SDCC for YEARS. Yeah, it sucks.

NYCC’13 had “SDCC-esque” 130K+ attendees this year?

Fascinating, if correct:

Considering that New York Comic Con’s Javits Center has a total of ~760,000 sq ft. of Exhibition + Special Events Hall space [ ]… while the San Diego Comic-Con’s Convention Center has their Exhibit Floor + Meeting Hall + Ballroom (20) total at ~820,000 sq ft [ ]; a not-insignificant Con space differential between the two venues—

AND that New York Comic Con takes place over FOUR DAYS (a Thurs Preview Night, then Fri – Sun) vs. SDCC’s FIVE DAYS ( Weds Preview Night, then Thurs – Sun), “spreading out” that NYCC population in a shorter-duration Con—

Make me picture a crowded and densely packed NYCC center filled with attendees getting their Nerd on to the tune of some 32K+ DAILY there at the SMALLER Javits Center. But, REED POP’s Lance Fensterman thought NYCC ’13 was “40% less congested” this year? Man– good thing the NYC Fire Marshalls weren’t around to shut down those previous Cons!

Still, congrats to the NYCC to matching— and possibly surpassing?— SDCC’s attendee count this year. Goes to show the popularity of these ‘Pop Fest’ sort of events now in the General Population, regardless of them having actual Comics interest in going to one. (From what Youtube vids I’ve seen, looks like the Javits Floor was 1/4 Video Games. Along with a CHEVY car dealership.)

Bravo for REED POP for selling East Coast/Tristate Nerds and Geeks a version of Comic-Con there in the streets of NYC to claim as their own— and hopefully. this “local” version will satisfy them enough to stop them from being online competition for SDCC passes when they go on sale…

/comic con -alia

I took my daughter for the first time we gone to others cons it was alittle over welming for her .A little confusing when it came time for autograph session I ask some of the workers but never got a straight answer which we did not get to see the person we wanted to see.

I was one of those who had to buy 4 one-day passes since the 4-day passes were all sold out. I was not let into the con on Thursday until 3 pm which was a bummer.

I also think the rooms should be flushed. You want to wait 8 hours for a panel, that’s fine but you do it outside with the rest of us sitting on the hard floor, being bored out of our minds, and having to run around trying to find the closest bathroom with the shortest lines. It would also give a visual indicator to everyone interested so they can make a informed decision whether to wait or move on to another panel or autographing session, get food, find a place to rest for a little bit, peruse the wares being sold…

Sunday seemed the most crowded with people trying to find the last minute deals. I don’t think the vendor floor was the right place for people with children and strollers. One was parked behind me as I filled out a contact sheet. I turned and tripped over it, thankfully not hurting myself of the child. I also saw a double stroller (side by side) being wheeled around. It’s not some magical vehicle people.

It was easy to go in the wrong direction when going from one panel to another. Cutting through the food court was so aggravating.

I used the app a lot. That was great. I wish the app would alert you when a change was made. It updated fine but was sneaky about it. It would warn you if a panel was starting that you wanted to go to, but didn’t warn you about an autographing session. Would have liked for the autographing section to have pictures.

To comic con – alia: I will be trying to get a SDCC pass next year. Beware.

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