It is an old story by now: con sells, out, fire marshals get antsy and shuts down entrance for a while. What’s newish about these stories—but really almost unremarkable—is that it’s happening even in fist time shows in untested markets, like this weekend’s Salt Lake Comic Con. Headlining the nerdlebrity gods like Stan Lee—and the awesome Shatner/West showdown—the show drew 50,000, billed as a “record for a first time show,” although who is keeping the records we don’t know.

A final count wasn’t available Saturday night, but a Salt Lake Comic Con spokesman confirmed the newest comic convention had surpassed 50,000 tickets sold by 10 a.m. About five hours later, organizers declared the event sold out and a fire marshal limited entry into the Salt Palace, which was bursting at the seams.

Fans reported waiting in line for as much as four hours Saturday just to get into the front door to catch the last of the three-day convention.

The show spun out of the existing GEEX Gaming and Electronics Expo, so t wasn’t entirely a new show. The guests were heavy on the TV personalties, with a smaller comics contingent, but from the reports we got the show was quite well run and the usual circus of costumes, comics and celebrities.


  1. Looks like it’s the biggest convention of any sort in Utah.

    100,000+ at Fan Expo Canada.
    Calgary sells out before the show opens.
    TCAF bursting at the seams.

    I’m predicting 125K at NYCC, and lots of crowding.

  2. This month I’ll be at Rose City Comic Con, which is operating on only its second year. This year they’ve partnered with Emerald City Comic Con — so already the stakes are being raised just by the inclusion of pedigree alone. It’s a 2 day show, and just by looking at the map of the floor I can’t imagine double-digit attendance. But it’s my first time being there so I will report what I can.

    The rise in attendance across the country (and beyond) is wonderful and terrifying at the same time. Wonderful that so many are openly embracing their pop culture icons and community, terrifying that with so many the potential for tragedy is a possibility.

  3. SLCC used half of the exhibition space at Salt Palace (Halls A-E).

    There are four overflow hotels: Hilton, Marriott, Radisson, Plaza.
    Radisson and Plaza have meeting rooms, directly north of the Palace.
    Marriott has a grand ballroom (theater: 1500) and a three-part meeting room which can seat 180.
    The Hilton, a little bit away, is similar to the Marriott (1000 ballroom, two rooms of 400 each.)

    Here are the numbers for the Salt Palace:
    You can run some big panels in those meeting rooms!
    700, 700, 2400, 850, 900…

    Halls A-E total 234.9K sq.ft.
    Halls 1-5 total 275.7K sq. ft.
    That’s 519.6 K. #36 in the country (Javits: 675, SD: 615, Denver: 584)

    And if they need a Hall H:
    21,200 capacity, great sight lines!
    One block away!

  4. Rose City did about 4100 last year.
    This year, they are using Halls A1, B, and C = 124K sqft.
    Pre-function C (11.4K)
    The ballroom, used for three panel spaces, totals 25.2K)
    Seating for each is 700, 700, 1450. (3K max.)

    There is another ballroom which is 34.2K and seats 4200.
    If the near that are used (C-D-E) then the sqft is 162K.
    But they would be more likely to grow into A (which would raise the total to 155K) and add a second pre-function space.

    Looking at the guest list… I wouldn’t be surprised at 10K, or even 25K.

  5. Torsten, the organizers chose to do a Thursday-Saturday convention and leave Sunday out of the mix out of the fear that the strong Mormon contingent in our fair city wouldn’t show up en masse on that day. Judging from the turnout at this inaugural Con, they may want to rethink that.

  6. As a comic retailer at SLCC, I thought the show went pretty well. Granted, the Baltimore Con was the same weekend and there was not much of a comic presence but I do hope next year has more creators and companies represented.

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