Well, we’ve recovered from the East Coast Comic Con and MoCCA Fest. Did our taxes. Watched the trailers. And this weekend, instead of relaxing and ruminating…I’m getting my act together to fly to Chicago on Thursday, for ReedPOP’s C2E2 show! (And if you think my schedule is crazy, the ReedPOP crew is in Anaheim right now, running Star Wars Celebration!)
So… how does this show differ from last year’s?
Not much, really. Panels are upstairs, just like last year. (Make use of the water stations. Seriously…it’s a long walk to the Main Stage.) Family and fans are once again in the ballroom on the First Floor. The sales floor… is still in Halls A1 and A2 (McCormick South).
Like last year, they use 3/4 of the hall. Last year, the last third (or the front half of A2) was the food court area. What’s changed? Autographing and Food have switched places. Artist Alley has been pushed back a little. With no stage and a better layout, hopefully it doesn’t feel as slapdashed as last year. 350 tables are planned this year, down from 353 last year, but still ahead of the 207 from the first show). Looking at the map, they can expand that area as well. (Personally, the first C2E2 in Lakeside set the bar. Lots of natural light, wide aisles, lots of space behind the tables, far from the rest of the show yet still accessible.)
The Block seems to be a new addition this year, or maybe the memory’s tumbled in with all of the other stuff from last year. The Tattoo Pavilion is in the same space as last year.
Only three booths remain unsold: two small booths right next to Marvel, and a quad near the Food Court. (Some of the Artist Alley tables are on hold, but all are sold.)
As I said here, C2E2 already is larger than New York Comic Con in regards to exhibition floor space. In this hall, there is 20% not utilized. (It’s the bottom quarter in the map to the right, with the stair-step edge.) 840,000 sq.ft. of space exists in Hall A, 670,000 is currently used. That back quadrant is 170,000 sq.ft. in area. If you’re familiar with Javitz’ North Pavilion, site of Artist Alley at NYCC, this back space is TWICE the area (80K). Just think of the twenty studio booths you could place back there!
As for panels, there’s a FIFTH floor above the fourth, with five rooms, which can be divided into fourteen spaces (just like the rooms on the fourth). Not to mention the six meeting rooms on the first floor, south of the ballroom, which can subdivide into 15 spaces. Plus ReedPOP uses the North Hall (B1/B2) for registration, and the meeting rooms beneath for back of house purposes.
So, what’s the estimated attendance this year?
The average (slope) is 7,100 a year. If we take the recent increases into account, the math suggests 70 – 75,000 attendees. NYCC in its sixth year did 105,000. C2E2 is growing at half the rate of NYCC, which is not a bad thing. Of course, McCormick has a lot of space available, so with my estimated 1.235 MILLION capacity, with a growth of 10K/year, it would take C2E2 120 years to fill the entire convention center! Me, I’m thinking 2030. Once shows hit a certain threshold, they reach critical mass quickly. (I’ll share my mad dreams later. In the meantime, read this!)
But until then, other parts of McCormick Place will be used by other shows. What else is happening that weekend? Automechanika Chicago. 400 exhibitors, 8500 attendees, and it’s all about the auto aftermarket. (Oh man… a month later is the Sweets & Snacks Expo!) Last year, some company held their sales meeting in Lakeside, meaning most attendees trekked by the show floor on Thursday. I even spotted one professional lady stop to take a selfie with a Batman75 standee! There was also a national high school chorus competition… yeah…theatre geeks! Another year, there was standardized testing for educators. And the first C2E2 had a bath show where the current con is located…
I’ll have more later, but I do recommend the show. It’s a large regional show, with myriad guests of all sorts, great programming, not as crazy as CCI or NYCC, and I think most of the snow will have melted by now. Until then, peruse our posts from previous years. It’s a good sample of what the show offers.