Following yesterday’s post on Salt Lake Comic Con’s attendance this weekend—widely reported as somewhere between 120,000-130,000—in which I examined some doubts about this number that have been expressed to me, I received a press release on the numbers, and some clarification from Bryan Brandenberg, Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder of the show. He told me, “We feel real good about our numbers. The capacity for the Salt Palace is 150,000 not 82,000. We not only were in the Convention Center, but our film festival was at the Gateway two blocks away and our gaming tournaments were offsite as well. Besides ticket sales, we gave away over 15,000 tickets to schools, military, first responders and charities and we counted free kids.” He also denied that tickets that were handed out as giveaways were included in the attendance numbers.
There were wide reports of long lines and big crowds, so obviously, a lot of people went to this show. Brandenberg sent along pictures which show the crowds, and they are definitely dense. It’s way too crowded for my taste, but there is obviously enthusiasm for this kind of event. On the show’s FB page there’s quite a bit of arguing over the lines and the waits and what not, but it is worth remembering that big pop culture shows are popular and you are probably going to have to wait in line.
As I mentioned before, I wasn’t at the show, so I can’t guess at the attendance. The numbers being reported are really incredible for a show this new and a market this size; as a veteran of many comic cons and many comic con reports, I’ll continue to investigate numbers, especially ones this newsworthy.
Clearly, this show is a success in a market that is avid for this kind of event. Crowd management needs to be a priority for any show runner, though, and lots of events are having growing pains as interest outstrips the infrastructure to deal with it.
Here are more pictures from the show and the PR:
Salt Lake Comic Con SOLD OUT by noon on Saturday, September 6, 2014 and shattered its previous attendance record with more than 120,000 attendees, which included over 15,000 tickets given away to charities, military personnel, first responders and sponsored schools.
VIP passes and vendor booths sold out weeks before the start of Salt Lake Comic Con. On opening day, more than 60,000 fans showed up to register and on the final day, Saturday, September 6, 2014, there were more than 90,000 fans attending the convention at the Salt Palace, Gateway film festival events and gaming tournaments at the nearby hotels.
“The response we got from fans was tremendous,” said Dan Farr, Salt Lake Comic Con Founder and Show Producer. “I’ve said it before and I mean it, we have the greatest fans in the world. Our fans’ overwhelming support allowed us to give back over 15,000 tickets into the community, and for that, we are extremely proud. CW’s Arrow star Stephen Amell posted on his Facebook page on Saturday saying, ‘I don’t know if there are enough superlatives in my vocabulary to describe the people of Salt Lake City. What a fantastic collection of friends I got to meet today.’ Word is spreading amongst the celebrities about how great our fans are and it’s making Salt Lake Comic Con a ‘can’t miss show’ for celebrities. ”
Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 included more than 42 film and TV guests including Leonard Nimoy, Stan Lee, Jason David Frank, Alan Tudyk, Simon Helberg, Bruce Campbell, Stephen Amell, John Barrowman, Cary Elwes, Eliza Dushku, Jon Heder, Barbara, Eden, Manu Bennett, Danny Glover, Hulk Hogan, Charisma Carpenter, Erin Gray, Giancarlo Esposito and Patrick Warburton. In addition to celebrity guests, Salt Lake Comic Con also included more than 300 hours of panels and more than 400 vendors. It has taken Salt Lake Comic Con less than one year to become the third largest comic con in the United States.
“We want to thank our fans for helping us build Salt Lake Comic Con into one of the premier comic con’s in the country in just one year,” said Bryan Brandenburg, Salt Lake Comic Con Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “During his panel, Stan Lee, the King of comicbooks, called Salt Lake Comic Con ‘the greatest comic con in the world’. We know we owe that all to our fans and are committed to continuing to build upon this success to give our fans the best show possible moving forward. This year we had over 120,000 people attend our convention over three days. It’s important to have this kind of attendance to attract the high caliber guests that we want to bring for future events. Success breeds more success. ”
Salt Lake Comic Con returns to the Salt Palace Convention Center in September 2015. For more information on Salt Lake Comic Con including future event announcements, celebrity guest appearances, cosplay workshops and holiday discounts and various ticket specials visit the Salt Lake Comic Con website at http://saltlakecomiccon.com/.
OH yeah, one more thing, SLCC definitely leads the pack when it comes to glamourously smooth photos of attending nerdlebrities!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.