[Revised] 32,000 Fans Attend CV - Per Steve Sansweet

Discussion in 'FanForce: Star Wars Celebrations' started by JediJustin, Aug 23, 2010.

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  1. JediJustin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2006
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    http://clubjade.net/?p=22542

    In a Facebook post this afternoon, Steve Sansweet pegs the attendee numbers of Celebration V at 28,000 ? the lowest since Celebration I in 1999. Celebration IV in 2007, which also had no movie to boost awareness and attendance (but did have the advantage of being in movie-loving Los Angeles) weighed in at 35,000.

    It?s no shock that the numbers are lower for this round ? in addition to the economy, the late announcement and a less-than-inspiring locale, August is smack dab in the middle of convention season ? most notably in that CV was bracketed by the biggest cons of all: San Diego Comic-Con in July and Atlanta?s Dragon*Con coming up on Labor Day weekend. Both are huge draws for much of the same audience, and we even had a Jader or two choose D*C over CV.

    Really, between all that, 28,000 doesn?t look all that shabby!

    Wherever Celebration VI may be (and I am not asking for suggestions) I hope they return to a late-spring date ? if nothing else, because that would make almost any location fairly palatable. (And a note to our delicate warm-weather flowers: Orlando?s life-sapping humidity has more than paid back the midwest?s debt for CIII?s ridiculously light snow, okay? We?re even.)
  2. FRAGGLE_ROCKER Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2010
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    Being there I wouldn't have thought there was a "low" attendance, and Orlando with several other parks and the opportunity for the Last Tour to Endor, seems like a perfect location. Sure it's hot in Orlando in August, but that didn't really affect me after I got inside since I was inside the convention center during each day.
  3. MattDoc Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2009
    star 3
    Pretty good numbers, IMO.

    I just don't get the "less-than-inspiring locale" comment. While a cooler time of year could have been better, I think it was possibly the perfect location for this show.
  4. jhc36 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2003
    star 4
    Yeah I completely agree. There were a number of activities and attractions for everyone that wanted to make a week long vacation out of it. I think it was the perfect locale, the only thing I would change is the date. I would shoot for a spring date...around May like the rest of them. I don't really consider those numbers low, especially since the economy is in the tank. In fact I would imagine a lesser number if it were held in LA this year...just for the sheer expense.
  5. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I know quite a few people that had this as part of why they didn't go.
  6. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
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    28,000 is still pretty darn impressive IMO. :)
  7. PrincessKenobi New Films Manager of DOOM

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    That is actually pretty good, considering it did fall smack dab in the middle of convention season. Plus right smack dab in the middle of August when many of the nations children went back to school.

    My only hope is that CVI returns to Indy. By the end of this year Indy will have added over 4,000 additional rooms downtown and the convention center expansion will be done. Making it one of the nations biggest convention centers. Plus the majority of the hotels are connected via skywalk and there is plenty restaurants along with things to do within walking distance of the Convention center.

    The only thing I request is not the end of April or in the month of April at all in the Midwest. If there has ever been a month where the weather is unpredictable that would be the month.
  8. MattDoc Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2009
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    Which? The weather or the location? Either one is a pretty lame excuse not to go though, quite honestly. If you really want to go, the location and season shouldn't be a factor.
  9. jhc36 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2003
    star 4


    Yeah I've been to GenCon up there and would have no problem attending a CVI if it went back there. Especially if they have added more con space.
  10. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    What Florida weather in August would be.
  11. MattDoc Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2009
    star 3
    Yeah, if this was an outdoor music festival or something, I'd agree there. I spent less than an hour outside each day at CV. That includes going to/from my hotel to/from the OCCC (over a mile away) and going out to parties and dinners each night.

    I think those people just didn't want to go and tried to use the Florida summer as an excuse.
  12. jhc36 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2003
    star 4
    Wow. Unless someone is planning on camping in a tent during the convention I find it hard to fathom why someone would make a decision on not going because of the weather.
  13. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    Especially since the convention center was freezing inside. The only point you really had to deal with the humidity was walking to and from the convention center. I don't know, call me crazy, but I just don't think the weather was that big of a deal. Sure, it was hot and miserable most of the time, but it was still an amazing experience. I'm glad I went.

  14. tribbleorlfl Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2010
    ?Less than ideal location,? huh? What?s that supposed to mean? I might be biased (having lived all 30 of my years on this planet in Orlando) and while it might not be ?as? centrally located as CII and III, Orlando is about as ideal as you can get in terms of hosting a convention. We have the 2nd largest CC in the country (and perhaps the most overall metro-area convention space in the US), 2nd most hotel rooms in the country, an extremely busy (but efficient) Int?l airport, infrastructure and trained employees to support thousands of convention goers and are THE tourist capital of the world. There is so much to do in this area (or within an hour?s drive) beyond the con itself, something Indianapolis can?t boast. Granted, Central Florida and August aren?t usually favorably associated for obvious reasons, but when you throw in the fore-mentioned Disney/Lucasfilm connection, it?s really a no-brainer.

    Personally, I?ve never attended a Celebration before, nor would I have attended this year if it weren?t for the fact it was in my own back yard. While I?m a general sci-fi nut and have attended my fair share of small, regional cons in the past, I?m not the kind of fan that can justify the expenses involved w/ traveling for almost a week to attend a con AND drop the kind of jack I saw being thrown about to the vendors. While it?s these devoted fans that bring home the majority of the revenue for most cons, devoted fans can always be expected to attend and in relatively the same numbers. However, it?s the marginal (or even the few non-fans I saw running around CV) fans you need to persuade to come in order to make your con truly profitable.

    When we?re in a down economic cycle, it?s very hard for a family to justify discretionary expenses of this type, especially to run around a Sci-fi convention for four days. However, tack on an additional couple of days to enjoy Orlando?s other activities and hit the theme parks, all of the sudden it becomes a little easier to swallow from an expense-perspective with your significant other. I remember reading articles before CV saying they were expecting lower numbers than previous years, from the 20-25k range. However, Lucasfilm and Reed can?t help but be satisfied that they exceeded their expectations by 5,000 or so, and I honestly believe the location had everything to do with it.

    Move CVI to spring prior to the major cons, but keep it in Orlando and I think you?ll rival CIV in terms of attendance.
  15. jawajames FF Pacific RSA / Chapter Rep San Diego, CA

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    I knew a lot of people who were put off by the fact that it was August/Orlando because they had previously done that combination or lived through that type of weather. Yes, for a con, you are inside the convention center most of the time. But with that heat/humidity, it cuts down on most people's outdoor walkability range. If you can't walk more than 5 minutes without soaking your clothes with sweat, that's a turnoff for a lot of people. And since there's not much within 5 minutes of walking distance to the entrances of the OCCC that were actually used (A/B and C), your ability to go out to get lunch or dinner with friends is now limited to private cars, shuttles, rental cars and taxis.

    A lot of people have said that it was fine except when they were outside.
    Why not pick a place that is fine inside and outside?
  16. Grand Admiral Strife RSA Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2001
    star 5
    Location was not an issue for me, in fact it was a selling point in getting Maulfly to agree we could go, as it was an opportunity to return to Disneyworld. That said, should Reed continue to produce the shows and should they return to Orlando, please let it be May or June; August is just not a good month, as those of us that did go and make a vacation to the parks out of it the heat was just "Opress"-ive (that's a pun, for those that watch Clone Wars). Granted, the local media said it was the first time in like 20 years it was that hot and humid.
  17. PrincessKenobi New Films Manager of DOOM

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    Actually there is more to do in Indy around the convention center then I found in Orlando. From there is the Children Museum, to the State Museum, to the Zoo, to the Movie Theater inside the Mall connected to Convention center, and there is much more that I really don't have time to add. I was rather sad to find that outside of the Convention Center and near it were just hotels. No local shopping, no local anything. You would need to walk a good half a mile up the road to get any of that. And for me a Con is not just about the Con itself but the places you can go with your friends and visit. And must people don't like driving once at the Con. They prefer to walk around and visit things not worry about driving to the next location.

    Meh, Orlando is Orlando and many people were turned off by that fact. Not just the heat but it's expensive to travel to Florida and do anything extra in Florida. I think not having it in the middle of August will help attendance. But I don't agree on keeping it in Orlando, not just because I would rather it was in Indy. There are much better locations out there besides Orlando and Indy that would be ideal for this location and getting more people to show up.
  18. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'd agree with PK on the limit of stuff in good walkability range. And I mean, I had a lot of time outside and it was also unpleasant at night. I ended up doing several walks from the Doubletree south of the convention center 1.5 miles north to where my hotel was at night after the buses stopped, and even then the humidity was a total pain to deal with.

    I'd contrast it with San Diego, where the hotels are mixed in with all sorts of food places. It doesn't help that rather than be a region around a central location, all the hotels are just strung out north to south, it seems.
  19. jawajames FF Pacific RSA / Chapter Rep San Diego, CA

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    Like others said, Indianapolis and San Diego (and Columbus) have good downtown convention centers, where there are lots of walkable options next to the convention center for dining, hotels, nightlife, and fun - though parking tends to be a premium.

    Orlando had a great convention center, but unless you had wheels, your options for dinner were pretty limited.
  20. deadhoarse Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2006
    Did all of you miss the restaurants/shopping/movie theater(Imax) that were right across the street from the convention center? There were a lot of places to eat at all different price points.

    And in terms of things to do in the area (driving distance), it's hard to beat Disney, Downtown Disney, Universal, and Seaworld.
  21. MattDoc Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2009
    star 3
    I was kind of wondering the same thing. I walked past or rode the shuttle past countless restaurants every day. If you stayed at the Peabody or either Rosen property you may have felt like walking more than 50 yards was too far since you were right on top of the OCCC, but the rest of us who stayed a little farther out (even within 1 mile) were right in the middle of tons of great places to eat and socialize.

    Just because it wasn't a "downtown" I think some people thought you couldn't walk anywhere. Not sure why. Yet I bet if you were in any downtown and someone told you that a cool bar to meet at was 4-5 blocks away, you'd think nothing of walking. Well, in the average city, I'm pretty sure that 4-5 blocks is usually about a mile in most US downtowns.

    Where we were in Orlando, it was just under 2 miles from the Peabody to the Wyndham. Between those two hotels were a LOT of restaurants and things to do.
  22. deadhoarse Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2006
    Actually, all of the restaurants, movie theater, etc were right in between the Peabody and Rosen Plaza.
  23. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I stayed 5 blocks away from the convention center in San Diego this year, it's .3 miles walking. And with the shuttles running all the time for that it meant that everyone I knew was either within walking distance or shuttle distance.
    In contrast, at CV I was walking a mile and a half to get back from a friend's hotel a few of the nights because the CV transportation stopped at 9, and the city buses stopped at 10:30.

    It's MUCH easier to get food to happen in San Diego than it was in Orlando. And getting into Disneyworld was an utter pain, as I did that one day.
  24. FRAGGLE_ROCKER Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2010
    star 1
    Just on International Drive between the convention center and the Wet and Wild I saw two IHOPs, two Denny's, two TGIFriday's within a mile, in addition to the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum, the Wonderworks, a couple of themed dinner theaters, a go-cart track. That whole area looked nice, clean and safe too. I didn't go to anything else though because I was in town for STAR WARS Celebration V, which was an all-day and all-night event for four days. The times I wasn't there I just needed to sleep to get up the next mornings. I didn't need to do anything else, and liked cocooning myself away within STAR WARS (and Disney) for four days for a true vacation. Going to Walgreen's for batteries and Denny's for breakfast one morning almost took me out of the experience. Dining options were limited inside the convention center, but I'd much prefer to share a table with someone in a stormtrooper's outfit eating a pizza any day.
  25. MattDoc Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2009
    star 3
    Don't blame Orlando or the shuttles because you and your friend stayed far away from each other. [face_shame_on_you]:p
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