If you happened to attend this year’s Phoenix Comicon, be sure to pat yourself on the back. Seriously. Not only did you endure sweltering weather and all the hassles that come with going to the popular geekfest, but you also helped the annual event achieve record-breaking attendance numbers.
Comicon organizers announced on Monday, June 13, that this year’s event, which ran from June 2 through June 5 at the Phoenix Convention Center, boasted a unique attendance – meaning individuals who attended all four days — of 106,096 people.
According to Phoenix Comicon director Matt Solberg in a press release announcing the record-setting attendance, unique visitors include both paid and complimentary admissions to the event, as well as each of the thousands of children, exhibitors, special guests, volunteers, professionals, and members of the media who attended this year.
It smashes Comicon’s previous attendance record of 77,818 people, which was set in 2014, and is a 40 percent increase over last year’s attendance of 75,501.
Organizers also announced an equally remarkable daily attendance figure of 216,219 people for Comicon 2016, which includes those who came for a single day.
Any way you slice it, however, those numbers are definitely impressive and were achieved despite a few issues that vexed Comicon attendees and organizers alike. That, of course, includes the various tech-related snafus that befell the event’s registration system on Friday, June 4, which reportedly resulted in hundreds of people waiting in line outside the convention center while enduring the heat.
Phoenix Comicon’s record-breaking attendance figures for 2016 help rank the event up there with some of the biggest and most popular 'cons and geek gatherings in the U.S. For instance, it bests such events at Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon, Wizard World Chicago, Anime Expo in Los Angeles, Atlanta’s DragonCon, and the annual PAX Prime, each of which host anywhere from 70,000 people to 80,000 people every year.
The high-profile New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic Con are still kings of the mountain, however, as each event respectively attracted in excess of 170,000 people and 130,000 people in 2015.
Not that the Phoenix Comicon organizers are trying to best those events, Solberg says.
“Comparisons will be made to San Diego Comic Con (or other shows) with our attendance numbers. We are not as large as San Diego Comic Con nor will we ever be,” Solberg states. “The San Diego Convention Center is larger than the Phoenix Convention Center, and the San Diego downtown area has more hotel rooms than does the Phoenix downtown area which allows them to host more attendees.”
That said, it's still a laudable achievement for our hometown 'con, which has come a long way since hosting a mere 432 people during its first year in 2002.
And if you’re eager to try and top the record next year, organizers have announced that Phoenix Comicon 2017 will take place from Thursday, May 25, to Sunday, May 28.