Comic-Con International has released the floor plan for WonderCon 2016, scheduled for March 25-27 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
After four years of steady growth in Anaheim, CCI has moved WC to downtown Los Angeles. Some wonder if the site is suited, given the lack of hotel rooms and the location. (Yes, these are probably the same people who complained when WC moved to Anaheim, competing with Disneyland for attention and hotel space.)
So… how do they compare, at least from a cold, analytical comparison of the show floors? Let’s find out!
The bullet points:
- This is the South Hall of the convention center.
- It offers 346,890 square feet of space.
- 112 Small Press tables
- 57 Dealer tables
- 27 Autograph tables
- and 350 Artists’ Alley tables
For comparison, CCI: San Diego offers 216 AA tables, while New York Comic Con, setting the bar high, offers 460 tables in a light-filled, column-free space (which is slated to be demolished and replaced by loading docks, parking, and event space).
The scorecard (as tabulated from previous maps):
|Year||Location||Halls Used||sq.ft.||Artist Alley||Small Press||Dealer||Autograph||Fan Groups|
|2016||Los Angeles||South Hall||346,890||350||112||57||27||18|
|2011||San Francisco||South A/B/C||260,560||165||75||35||30||10|
The square footage is only for the halls used for the show floor. For example, in Anaheim, CCI used Hall E, which is underneath Hall D, for box office and other uses. Also note, in 2015, unlike 2012, CCI did not use the angular southern end of Hall D for booths.
What’s interesting about this is that WonderCon’s show floor is 2/3rd of last year, although the “non-commercial” areas tabulated above have not changed significantly, or have grown.
Are there fewer booths this year? Probably, or the average size is smaller than previous years. (No, I’m not going to compare and contrast that… I’ll leave that up to the attendees, who will determine the ultimate fate of this year’s show.) It appears the “lounge” areas have been downsized as well. Was there less demand due to the new location?
What is significant is the WonderCon has a better Artists’ Alley than San Diego. San Diego, it should be noted, subsidizes and curates that section, possibly leaving it as a vestige or link to a bygone era. (Given the crowds, I’m certain that CCI:SD could support an Artists Alley of 1000+ tables, even if they charged a fee and placed it in an offsite hotel ballroom.)
WonderCon attracted some 60,000 attendees in 2014. Comic-Con hit that number back in 2002 before hitting capacity in 2007. WonderCon is a large regional convention, although not as well known as some. DC Comics has a major press event scheduled this year, and given its proximity to Hollywood as well its Spring date, will probably become just as big as San Diego within a decade. Think that’s crazy? Anime Expo hosted 90,500 unique attendees last July, with a turnstile figure of 260,700! (Here’s their map!)
CCI has room to grow in Los Angeles (they only use about half the space this year), especially if Los Angeles commits to the planned expansion announced last year. Add in the programming space available from the Staples Center and LA Live, and WonderCon could eclipse or rival San Diego.