“What? Is he nuts? NYCC is bursting at the seams! 130,000 attendees. Massive crowds! Sold out weeks in advance! Crazy media coverage!”
Yes, but there’s one metric which is very important. It’s a concern at New York, it’s a political football in San Diego, and it will soon be a concern for other large shows:
square footage of exhibition space
That’s what drives Preview Nights, ticket sales, social media; and which funds the show. (The exhibitors rent space from the show.) A publisher doesn’t have a booth? Creator with 300,000 followers says she’ll be in Artist Alley? Exclusive swag?
That is how C2E2 is bigger than NYCC: the square footage of the show floor.
NYCC uses the entire exhibition space on the third floor of the Javits center. Let’s add halls 1B (used last year for fan groups and autographing), 1C (used for the stockyards in the morning, as fans line up to get in, and panel overflow) and the North Hall (Artists Alley).
The scorecard, from the Javits website:
|Hall||Gross.sq.ft.||Floor dim.||Ceiling hght.||Occupancy|
|3A||116,000 sq.ft||456’x274′||33′ *||3,852 for tradeshows|
|3B||158,000 sq.ft||456’x371′||33′ *||5,240 for tradeshows|
|3D||17,000 sq.ft||240’x69′||14′||1,680 for tradeshows|
|3E||119,000 sq.ft||456’x286′||33′ *||3,930 for tradeshows|
|Gross Sq. Ft.||80,000|
|Floor Dimensions||159′ x 461′|
|Ceiling Height||Varies from 25′ to 49′|
|Occupancy|| 5,596 tradeshows
116+158+17+119+80+80++80 = 650,000 square feet.
This past week, C2E2 used three-quarters of Hall A at McCormick Place.
That area: 670,000 square feet. One third of which was for a food court and general banquet seating. (That’s 26% of McCormick Place’s 2.6 Million square feet of exhibition space.)
This doesn’t include the North Hall (B), which ReedPOP used for registration.
Yes, C2E2 is half the size of NYCC. It hasn’t sold out yet, and is still three days long. It’s growing at half the rate of the New York show, although once past a certain number, the size and scope of a show encourages word-of-mouth and interest, mostly by media outlets.
Here’s the C2E2 scorecard:
This year, C2E2 had wide aisles, and it was easy to move around. How do you calculate the best density or capacity for a show? Looking at the chart above, one could average square feet per attendee.
The following is the day-by-day attendance of the 1999 Chicago Auto Show: Feb. 11 First Look for Charity: 10,064 Feb. 12 Friday 69,588 Feb. 13 Saturday 126,494 Feb. 14 Sunday 166,556 Feb. 15 Monday 119,131 Feb. 16 Tuesday 70,818 Feb. 17 Wednesday 81,493 Feb. 18 Thursday 81,721 Feb. 19 Friday 103,077 Feb. 20 Saturday 199,374 * Feb. 21 Sunday 187,418 Show total 1,215,734 ** * All time single-day show record ** All time show attendance record SOURCE Chicago Automobile Trade Association
So, those last four days total: 571,590.
Now, I’ve never attended an auto show in Chicago or New York City. But looking at the 2014 floor plan for Chicago, it’s mostly big chunks of real estate carved out by manufacturers, with a small area for retail and other exhibitors. Seriously… that middle aisle at San Diego where studios and toy companies dominate? That’s almost the entire auto show!
Remember, this is just the South Hall and the North Hall (A+B)! There are also halls C (North), D and E (Lakeside), and F (West). Another 1.4 Million square feet!
So let’s take that Auto show number from above… 570K attendees, four days.
What if we took that density and expanded it to the entirety of McCormick Place?
.57 x 2.6 / 1.2 = 1.235 MILLION
One million two hundred and thirty-five million attendees.
Sound crazy? Hey, if Comiket can pull in 500,000 attendees to what is essentially a giant MoCCA Fest, why not One Million Geeks on the shore of Lake Michigan? (No, seriously… all the exhibitors at Tokyo Big Site are amateurs, making their own comics. One big giant Artist Alley. And massive lines at each table.)
Want to get REALLY crazy? Why not do what the Auto Show does… NINE days!
1.2 x 2.6 / 1.2 = 2.6 MILLION
How do you fill the building during the week? Hold it during Holy Week? Offer workshops for area students. Encourage people to take a day off of work. (Look at the numbers above for weekdays… 80K. Somehow, someone is coming in to look at cars.) Run events at night, after work, like screenings.
Then we will surely have a Nerd Mardi Gras, as it spills up to Burnham Harbor (Field Museum! Shedd Aquarium! Adler Planetarium!). Last year’s Stanley Cup celebration downtown at Grant Park drew an estimated two million hockey fans. I know that there are an equal number of pop culture fans in Chicagoland. Heck, sports fans are just another geek tribe!
Oh, and I didn’t even think of this:
The City plans to build a 12,000-seat arena and a 1200-bed headquarter hotel north of the center, as well as turn the neighborhood into an entertainment district.
So Chinatown might become a destination for dining…
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!