I have been watching (and attending) as the Phoenix Comic Con grows into one of the larger shows in the country. The first one I went to was in September of 2006 and had an attendance of 2,500. By 2010 they were just under 14,000 and in 2013 they were at over 55,000 attendees.
The convention staff is working with local fire officials to figure out how they can increase that number and still be within code. Last week convention director Matt Solberg (one of the nicest guys you'll meet in comics) sent out a letter talking about the plans for next months show and what to expect.
Hi All – Convention Director Matt Solberg here.
For the first time we are instituting limits on the numbers of memberships we sell for Phoenix Comicon. Based on current sales projections we believe we will have a record turnout, and in order to provide the safest and best experience for everyone, we are setting these limits.
We have been in discussions with the Fire Marshall at the Phoenix Convention Center and the quantities of each membership type we sell have been approved by her based on capacity and egress load limits of the facility.
The Fire Marshall, as well as us at Phoenix Comicon, are aware that there may be momentary times of congestion during our event that will require additional traffic controls to be utilized, even with these limits in place. These controls may include limiting access to certain areas of the convention (such as the Exhibitor Hall), requiring traffic to flow in one direction in hallways, or timing the exit of large panels and events.
While we are comfortable with the attendance limits, we all know that if everyone onsite wants to be at the same Bat place at the same Bat time, we will have congestion (so don't everyone rush Nathan Fillion's table, please).
The limits we are placing will allow for significantly more sales than in 2013.
This is made possible as we are expanding our Exhibitor Hall. We are adding Programming space in the South Building. We are adding Food and seating options in the South Building. We are adding more programming to the West building, the Hyatt, the Renaissance, and the Sheraton. Why we're even closing Third Street between the North and West buildings of the Phoenix Convention Center and adding events and activities there too!
We use Saturday afternoon as our baseline for attendance figures and capacity, as that is the most attended time of Phoenix Comicon. According to the Fire Marshall, we were never more than 75% full last year, and with the above added spaces, we are able to increase our capacity for 2014.
What does this mean for purchasing a membership?
Memberships are currently available for purchase online. Once we are sold out of a certain membership type (Full event, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) no more of that type will be sold online or onsite.
Once Phoenix Comicon begins June 5th, we will continue to sell online AND onsite AS LONG AS quantity of memberships is available. We are operating a real-time sales system, so as we sell a membership online or onsite, it will deduct from the number of memberships available. Once the quantity has been reached, we will not be able to sell any more of that membership type, either online or onsite.
It is highly possible we will sell out of select membership types prior to us opening our event. Full Event and Saturday are the most popular membership types and we anticipate those will be the first two membership types to sell out.
While available membership quantities are strong now, we know a significant portion of our attendance waits till closer to our show to purchase or arrives onsite to purchase. We anticipate news of these limits will spur sales to occur earlier and quicker, thus leading to a sell out of select membership types prior to our show.
If you wait to purchase your membership onsite, it is possible that we will sell out prior to you arriving. We highly encourage the purchase of memberships as soon as possible to avoid missing out on Phoenix Comicon.
If you have booked travel or hotels, but have not purchased your membership, we encourage you to act soon. We are not responsible for any unused flights or unused hotel rooms if you do not purchase your membership and miss out on attending Phoenix Comicon.
Our membership sales system will let you know what percentage of membership types are available and when they reach 1,000 left, an exact count will be displayed. Please understand that while we have strong numbers of memberships available right now, we will see significant sales activity within the next twenty four days. Do not assume that since we have quantities available now, that those same quantities will be available next week, let alone in a few days.
Phoenix Comicon and the Fire Marshall have factored in our Sidekick memberships into the capacities and sales limits. We are proud to have offered FREE memberships to kids 12 and younger for the past seven years! If you have already purchased your memberships but did not select sidekick passes, don't worry, you'll still be able to pick them up onsite.
We have the best volunteers of any convention in the country. Their tireless efforts throughout the year and from year-to-year have resulted in the most organized pop culture convention in the country that offers the most and best creative events and activities as well as one of the smoothest and easiest processes for collecting badges and participating in Phoenix Comicon.
Our attendees share feedback every year and know that while we make mistakes each year, we also get better each year. Our attendees participate in our programming, shop from our exhibitors and artists, and tell their friends and family and coworkers to attend.
In 2015 we gain significantly more programming and exhibitor space than what we currently have now (this space is not available to us this year). This will increase our capacity and allow for more to participate in Phoenix Comicon. Limits will increase next year based on traffic flow this year and guidance from the Fire Marshall.
To be typing this announcement is a bit surreal, as I remember our very first Phoenix Comicon and the excitement I felt when we had 432 people attend, and when we cleared 2,600 at our 2006 show, and the following year we grew even more to 4,400. And now those numbers are pretty standard for a single panel at Phoenix Comicon.
We encourage early purchase of memberships to avoid missing out on attending Phoenix Comicon. Thank you for your support of Phoenix Comicon!
Twenty one days to go!
If you haven't attended the Phoenix Comic Con, it is well worth it. This year they have guest like Stephen Amell, Nathan Fillion, John Barrowman, Bruce Campbell, Adam West, Burt Ward, Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, Michael Golden, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harrisand many more. Check it out.