Article by PatrickD    (01-05-15 02:38 AM)
It's January 2015 and that means that it's time for us to take our annual look back and see which conventions were the ten largest anime conventions in North America during 2014.

To understand this list, you need to first understand the different ways that a convention can count its attendance:
  • The most common method, one used by most non-anime conventions and trade shows, is a "turnstile" attendance count. Under this method, if there are 1,000 people at a three day convention each day, they would report their attendance as 3,000...as if each of those 1,000 people passed through a turnstile once per day. Although some anime conventions report turnstile numbers, they are often offered in addition to one of the following two counting methods. We do not list known turnstile counts on this site as we believe they are misleading and disingenuous.
  • Another method is to count each person who was issued a badge. This is often referred to as "total attendance" or a "warm body count". This will include attendees, staff, press, vendors, guests, and anyone else who was wearing a convention badge. If they attended multiple days, they just get counted once.
  • The final method commonly used to report attendance is a paid attendance count. This simply counts the number of people who paid for a badge. Unlike the warm body count, it doesn't include staff, guests, press, or others with a badge...unless they paid for it. This method also only counts people once even if they're attending multiple days.


All the attendance figures we present in this report and on AnimeCons.com have been provided by convention staffs themselves. They have either been announced on the convention's own web sites, reported to this site, or one of our site's staff have reported back a number announced at the convention's closing ceremonies. None of these numbers are guesses by AnimeCons.com staff. Where attendance is marked as "approximately" signifies that the number reported by the convention is likely rounded and not an exact count.

Our annual list also only consists of conventions with a primary focus on anime. This means that multi-genre conventions are not included. We also do not include conventions such as comic cons or sci-fi cons that have anime programming. To include those in this list would be impossible due to the number of those conventions in existence, the unavailability of attendance numbers for many of them, and the vast differences in counting methods. Anime conventions that share admission with non-anime conventions (such as comic or steampunk conventions) are also not included on this list.

Ten Largest North American Anime Conventions of 2014:

Beyond these ten, we start to get into a large number of conventions with attendance counts very close to one another and a number of conventions that would likely fall into this range but have not reported numbers. However, we do know that three conventions that narrowly missed the list are Youmacon (approximately 16,300 paid attendees), San Japan (14,686 warm bodies), and MomoCon (14,600 warm bodies).

Notably missing from the list this year is Katsucon. The convention was held in February 2014, but had not reported numbers on their web site or social media. They did not respond to requests for attendance numbers, so they could not be included in this list.

Also no longer on the list for the first time since we've been tracking the ten largest anime cons is FanimeCon. The San Jose, California convention is not eligible to be on the list because it shared registrations with a steampunk event called Clockwork Alchemy. Since there is no way to distinguish the people attending the anime event from the people attending the steampunk event, it would not be fair to include it in the above list. A similar situation arose in 2010 when New York Anime Festival merged with New York Comic Con and we could therefore no longer include New York Anime Festival on the list.

As always, we remind you that these are merely the largest conventions and are not necessarily the best. There are many, many small conventions out there that are a lot of fun and we encourage you to find the conventions near you and try them out.

If you want to compare the growth of conventions over the last ten years, here are some links to our annual reports (either written or as reported in our podcast): 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003

Patrick Delahanty is the creator of AnimeCons.com and executive producer of AnimeCons TV. He is the host of The Chibi Project, Anime Unscripted, and is one of the founders of both Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference. Patrick has attended over 130 conventions, cosplaying at most of them.

 
Username Comments
Crazy Flower 
Token Black Chick
Crazy Flower
Loc: Beantown in the Pan
Reg: 06-02-07

01-05-15 03:16 AM - Post#14219    
    In response to PatrickD

Interesting. Other than Anime Expo and perhaps Anime North, the numbers are pretty steady in comparison to 2013. The Anime North spike is interesting, especially since they had to put a cap on weekend badges. (I'm going this year and the first tier of badges sold out in a day)

I keep wondering if there will ever be a saturation point for purely Anime conventions and will they start to abandon to bring in multiple genres (such as what FanimeCon did last year) It hasn't been reached yet, but we'll see as it goes.

 
PatrickD 
Executive Producer
PatrickD
Loc: California
Reg: 12-07-06

01-05-15 03:58 AM - Post#14220    
    In response to Crazy Flower

  • Crazy Flower Said:
Interesting. Other than Anime Expo and perhaps Anime North, the numbers are pretty steady in comparison to 2013. The Anime North spike is interesting, especially since they had to put a cap on weekend badges. (I'm going this year and the first tier of badges sold out in a day)


Also interesting is that Otakon actually went DOWN in attendance from 2013.
-PatrickD
AnimeCons.com Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™


 
hikanteki 
Attendee

Reg: 06-02-10

01-09-15 03:21 PM - Post#14228    
    In response to PatrickD

While I know Fanime has been lazy at getting you the attendance #s in the past...I don’t think it makes sense to remove them from the list due to being merged with Clockwork Alchemy. Honesty, the # of Clockwork attendees is minuscule in comparison and I think of it as a subset of Fanime. It’s the opposite of New York Anime Festival being merged with NYCC -- in that case, New York AF was swallowed up by & became a subset of NYCC. But NYCC wasn’t disqualified from being counted as a comic convention from ANY list just because it took jurisdiction of an anime convention, because it wouldn’t have made sense to.

Anyway, were you able to get a number of how many people Fanime+Clockwork had? It would be interesting to know.


 
PatrickD 
Executive Producer
PatrickD
Loc: California
Reg: 12-07-06

01-09-15 05:24 PM - Post#14231    
    In response to hikanteki

  • hikanteki Said:
While I know Fanime has been lazy at getting you the attendance #s in the past...I don’t think it makes sense to remove them from the list due to being merged with Clockwork Alchemy. Honesty, the # of Clockwork attendees is minuscule in comparison and I think of it as a subset of Fanime.


The thing is, I have no idea how large or small Clockwork Alchemy is and there's really no way to tell since the registrations are combined. I actually discussed this with the AnimeCons TV crew and a number of people from at least half a dozen east and west coast conventions over the last few months and they agreed that it should disqualify them.

Think of it this way... If Fanime+Clockwork reported 20,000 people, it's not really fair to list them as #5 and list SomeOtherCon as #6 with 19,000 people if there were 2,000 people who were just interested in the Clockwork Alchemy stuff and never went to Fanime.

Would it be fair for me to add an anime con to the list if they shared admission with a car show that was also in their convention center?

I'm sure this is not the last time we'll see an anime con sharing admission with something else...and if I let this pass, it really sets a bad precedent. Sure, Clockwork Alchemy might be small, but what happens when a con shares admission with something large? Where do we draw the line? How can we even tell where that line is?

Their disqualification from the list is unrelated to them not providing attendance numbers until asked...but I'll admit that I'm not going to miss trying to chase those down every December. (No, I still haven't heard anything from Fanime as to their 2014 attendance.)
-PatrickD
AnimeCons.com Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™


 
hikanteki 
Attendee

Reg: 06-02-10

01-09-15 06:45 PM - Post#14233    
    In response to PatrickD

  • PatrickD Said:
  • hikanteki Said:
While I know Fanime has been lazy at getting you the attendance #s in the past...I don’t think it makes sense to remove them from the list due to being merged with Clockwork Alchemy. Honesty, the # of Clockwork attendees is minuscule in comparison and I think of it as a subset of Fanime.


The thing is, I have no idea how large or small Clockwork Alchemy is and there's really no way to tell since the registrations are combined. I actually discussed this with the AnimeCons TV crew and a number of people from at least half a dozen east and west coast conventions over the last few months and they agreed that it should disqualify them.

Think of it this way... If Fanime+Clockwork reported 20,000 people, it's not really fair to list them as #5 and list SomeOtherCon as #6 with 19,000 people if there were 2,000 people who were just interested in the Clockwork Alchemy stuff and never went to Fanime.




Thanks for your reply.

I guess I disagree. I think its totally fair to list them at #5 (or which #) even if 2,000 only went to the Clockwork portion of it. I think of this being a con within a con, with Fanime being the main one. On the other hand, Clockwork shouldn’t be counted on a list of biggest Steampunk cons.

Also, I’ve seen Steampunk-related (as well as other non-strictly anime panels and events) panels at other cons. Are you going to disqualify anime cons who have panels that aren’t strictly anime, simply because there are people who go for the other panels and not the anime part?

Fanime and ACA aren’t vacuums of each other. Fanime people are welcome to, and do, go over to the hotel where Clockwork is being hosted. They have shuttles running back and forth between them. Have the animecons.com crew or people from the other conventions who want Fanime to be disqualified actually been to Fanime and/or Clockwork Alchemy? I have, and if they had too...they’d see this, and they’d also see that the attendance at Clockwork is peanuts.

  • In reply to:

Would it be fair for me to add an anime con to the list if they shared admission with a car show that was also in their convention center?




Apples to oranges. Anime and Steampunk fans have a big overlap (and anyone from Clockwork was welcome to go to Fanime.) A few years ago there was a musical guest, Steam Powered Giraffe, who had panels in both the Fanime rooms and Clockwork rooms because it made sense.

If you can find an anime convention that shares attendance with a car show or something not related to anime/comics/steampunk/sc i-fi, please let me know.

  • In reply to:

I'm sure this is not the last time we'll see an anime con sharing admission with something else...and if I let this pass, it really sets a bad precedent. Sure, Clockwork Alchemy might be small, but what happens when a con shares admission with something large? Where do we draw the line? How can we even tell where that line is?




I actually think that disqualifying them because they are also running a small steampunk con sets a worse precedent. That could lead to disqualifying cons simply for one person who’s there for anything other than anime, or picking and choosing arbitrary qualifications for making the list other than “most of the programming should be anime-related”.

Drawing the line would be easy - why not just stop counting them when the focus is no longer anime? (Such as NYCC + NYAF = NYCC, not NYCC = NYAF = 0.)

  • In reply to:

Their disqualification from the list is unrelated to them not providing attendance numbers until asked...but I'll admit that I'm not going to miss trying to chase those down every December. (No, I still haven't heard anything from Fanime as to their 2014 attendance.)



Speaking of, has AnimeCons verified that there’s no way to separate the attendance? When we registered for Fanime/CA we had to click a button saying whether we’d pick up the badge at Fanime or pick it up at CA, and they printed them out at both locations with separate designs (That being said, getting them to actually share that information will probably be difficult...)

Edited by hikanteki on 01-09-15 06:55 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Fuchsia Connect 
Newbie
Fuchsia Connect
Loc: Tokyo Japan
Reg: 02-20-15

02-21-15 12:41 AM - Post#14322    
    In response to PatrickD

The attendance numbers are interesting, regardless of how factored.

It would be interesting to see a "25 Largest" list. I'd like to see the national spread with that.

 
PatrickD 
Executive Producer
PatrickD
Loc: California
Reg: 12-07-06

02-21-15 03:27 AM - Post#14323    
    In response to Fuchsia Connect

  • Fuchsia Connect Said:
It would be interesting to see a "25 Largest" list. I'd like to see the national spread with that.


I'd like to see that too. Unfortunately, conventions that I know should be in that range seem to be fairly lax about releasing attendance numbers once I get past the 10 or 12 largest. For example, I know Katsucon should be in there somewhere...but I haven't seen any attendance numbers reported by their staff. There are a lot of others like that.

Also, it becomes increasingly harder to rank since there start to be so many so close to each other. If one reports "over 10,500" and another reports "10,501" or "10,505", how do those rank against each other.

Ultimately, this all comes down to the number of people at a convention...and are those numbers really that important that they need to be ranked down to 25, 50, or 100 conventions? That still doesn't mean that the largest is necessarily better than the 25th. I went to one convention last year that had somewhere around 60,000 people...but my favorite was one that had around 300 or 400.
-PatrickD
AnimeCons.com Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™


 
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