Last weekend was a BLAST at Phoenix Comicon. From panels to author interviews and just all around awesome nerdiness I still can’t believe that it’s over (until Fan Fest that is). And despite some heat (record summer temperatures – because this is Phoenix) attendance is being reported as higher than ever.
According to AZCentral attendance was described by Tom Kuipers as being conservatively at 85,000, which would be around 10,000 more attendees than 2015. However, yourphx.com is projecting that the attendee estimate is closer to 100,000! Which would be a huge leap for a con that has been creeping toward SDCC attendance levels over the past few years.
While the crowds may mean that there are a few more lines (an issue that came up and was addressed on Friday at Registration, and fixed by Saturday), most attendees and Convention Director Matt Solberg recognize that while more people *might* mean more waiting, it doesn’t have to as long as attendees are prepared and as long as the con keeps learning from its occasional errors.
Because even if the most conservative estimate of 85,000 is accurate it certainly did not feel like 10,000 more people were crammed into the con. At no point was I unable to reach a destination, make it to a panel or enjoy my con. And enjoying a con is becoming more and more important than the location or even the guests.
Writing as one who’s attended SDCC for what will be the 6th (and possibly last) year I can say that while San Diego may have the nicer weather it certainly does not have either the openness in structure or consideration that Phoenix Comicon has for its attendees. Which means on the attendance side I’ve never not felt cramped or herded at the San Diego Convention Center. I’ve also never felt like San Diego cares more about my experience than their bottom line (just google their disregard for Cosplay is Not Consent).
And that consideration for attendees that Phoenix has will go a long way towards attendance growth over time. Just this past week an attendee of Wizard World made her feelings about how the con mistreated attendees known (warning for some salty language).
So, in a verse with multiple cons to choose from, Phoenix Comicon is growing more each year, both in size and in reputation. And for this blogger I hope it stays that way.
Did you attend Phoenix Comicon 2016? Let us know about your experience in the comments!