Oh, how things have changed. As pointed out in this week's episode of The Big Bang Theory, it is getting tough to be a geek and make it to Shangri-La, aka San Diego Comic Con. Since we all can't start hanging out with James Earl Jones, what's a geek to do? Will I ever get there? There is some hope. San Diego Comic Con's decision to change their badge pricing this year has been buzzed about for several weeks now. They are offering only single day badges and to purchase the preview night (Wednesday) badge, you must purchase a badge for every other day to be eligible for to purchase a preview night badge. Speculation is that this will allow more individuals to experience the event since there were serious crowding issues last year. Here’s hoping it let’s more people be able to visit because I would like to cross it off by bucket list.
And the boom isn't just happening in San Diego. Many of the larger cons are experiencing increases in attendance year after year. C2E2 in Chicago saw an increase of over 24% in attendance from 2012 to 2013. They have experimented with different spaces at their venue to accommodate better traffic. Gen Con, a hugely successful gaming convention in Indianapolis saw attendance increase 20% from 2012 to 2103. Additionally, as reported on Gen Con’s website, their exhibitor space for the 2014 convention sold out by mid-December, two months earlier than the prior year and that was with an 14% more exhibitor space than 2013. Even smaller cons are experiencing awesome growth. One of my favorite gaming weekends is Geekway to the West in St. Louis. This year’s attendance expectations are following the trend of the larger cons with a 25% increase expected. I guess geeks shall beget geeks and all shall search for cons to attend.
The convention boom isn’t just showing up in attendance, it is also showing up in a larger number of cons to pick from. Wizard World Comic Cons had 7 conventions last year. For 2014, they have 15 upcoming cons in large and midsize cities across the United States.
As the popularity of all things geek continues to explode across television and movies, I’m positive this trend in con popularity will continue. Especially with most cons adapting a broad focus and including guests, artists, and panels from comics, movies, television, anime, art, technology and cosplay. The popularity of shows like Arrow and Doctor Who on the small screen and the continuous superhero offerings on the big screen can only continue to build on the demand for more awesome cons.These conventions are no longer just a place for the Sheldons and Leonards of the world to unite; these conventions truly offer something for every taste and every age. Long live the age of the Geek.