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Answerman - Why Did Otakon's Attendance Shrink?


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gilnokoibito



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 87
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:53 pm Reply with quote
The Thursday night pre-reg line issues sure as heck didn't help either! I also heard many complaints about the new artist alley rules and costs. A lot of people complained that the con didn't learn from last year's mistakes either.
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FireChick



Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 1524
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:59 pm Reply with quote
I knew about the riots in Baltimore, but my family and I were literally just there last weekend and everything seemed fine. And Otakon is seriously moving to Washington DC? I had no idea!
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Kilika84



Joined: 10 Aug 2015
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:06 pm Reply with quote
I got turned off by the $100 registration fee.
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WashuTakahashi



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
Posts: 415
Location: Chicago, IL
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:13 pm Reply with quote
Kilika84 wrote:
I got turned off by the $100 registration fee.


This. I would have loved to see some of their guests, but between the badge cost, hotel room, and flight from Chicago, it was way too pricey. (Granted, I've never gotten to go before so it's not like I was part of the decrease in numbers, but I seriously considered going this year until adding up the potential costs)
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vangelionite88



Joined: 09 Dec 2009
Posts: 285
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:19 pm Reply with quote
100 dollars is kind of steep, ontop of other costs and theres nothing special added to such. as of right now 4 day AX badge is 60 dollars. its a pretty good price.
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CorneredAngel



Joined: 17 Jun 2002
Posts: 825
Location: New York, NY
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:20 pm Reply with quote
This is pure speculation on my part, but I can't help but wonder if there was a feedback loop kind of thing in effect too - what happened earlier in the year maybe influenced how enthusiastic some potential Japanese guests would be about Baltimore, and that in turn meant that some potential attendees were not as enthusiastic about it, either.
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revolutionotaku



Joined: 19 May 2011
Posts: 750
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:20 pm Reply with quote
I've always wanted to attend Otakon. But the only problem is that I live in New Jersey. I would have to have lots of money for travel, hotel, food & spending. I don't have much after attending AnimeNEXT. I also need to start saving for the New York Comic Con in October. I do attend other out-of-state conventions on rare occasions like AnimeExpo in Los Angeles (which takes nearly a year for me to save). I do hope to attend Otakon sometime in the near future.
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Polycell



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Posts: 4623
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:20 pm Reply with quote
Given that the mayor allowed the riots to burn for days on end and actively ducked the governor's phone calls before finally declaring the state of emergency, I'm not even remotely surprised the police department's being less active - if the populace hates you and the mayor doesn't have your back, you can't exactly do much in the way of proactive policing and can't really act at all without significant ass covering - and crime spiking. We'll have to see how the anniversary plays out(hopefully better than Ferguson's, but don't hold your breath), but next year's attendance could easily be worse if they can't persuade any guests to come to a dangerous city.
FireChick wrote:
And Otakon is seriously moving to Washington DC? I had no idea!
They outgrew the Baltimore Convention Center some time ago; they're moving because that's the only way to get more room.
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MajorZero



Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Posts: 358
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:26 pm Reply with quote
So, if you attending Otakon you have a chance to meet Stringer Bell instead? Not a fan of cons, never liked crowded places in general, but visited some game expos in the past, not gonna do it ever again, not worth the asking price and too much idiocy around.
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MadMan400096



Joined: 30 Jan 2013
Posts: 266
Location: Chicopee, MA
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:57 pm Reply with quote
I've got a relative who lives in Maryland, so when I first heard about the riots, my initial thought was for her safety. Luckily she doesn't live anywhere near Baltimore. But that's beside the point. Baltimore's kind of a hellhole recently, so Otakon's better off in DC.
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Brand



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 1015
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:34 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, I am weirded out that people are weirded out by the lower attendance this year. With the riots I was not surprised. There are a lot of suburban and rural people who are terrified by "Big Cities" to begin with. It wouldn't take much to get those people not to go. I can certainly, see them not allowing their kids to go.

I've also had friends who had not clue how bad Baltimore really is. I had a friend just this year say what a nice city Baltimore was and how nice it must to be live there. I asked them if they had ever been outside of the Inner Harbor. They said no...
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Aresef



Joined: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 518
Location: MD
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:41 pm Reply with quote
(I gofered this year, but my opinion is my own)

Quote:
Violence spilled into the Inner Harbor area, and I definitely recognized some of the nearby convenience stores in news footage, being looted and destroyed.


False. The protests did go through the harbor area. I was at the Orioles game when they said nobody would be allowed to leave for a bit (the game went into extras anyway and it was nbd), but that was more due to crowd control. There were isolated incidents like a cop car getting smashed up. The more intense violence started in northwest Baltimore at Mondawmin Mall and stretched to Pennsylvania and North avenues two days later. I highly doubt, Justin, you recognized that CVS that was set ablaze.

Now, as for the factors, I think the damage to Baltimore's brand were a factor. The badge hike (the first in several years) was a factor, past line management and registration hiccups may have been a factor, the guests this year. There are also more and more big cons on the east coast like Boston for example, and money is a finite resource. I don't really know.

That being said, Otakon needed to move to DC ages ago for the space, and still needs to move there for the space. Maybe someday they can come back to Baltimore, but there's never going to be the political will or the money to build a new arena and redo the old side of the convention center, so Otakon is going to stay gone.
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TsubomiKoneko



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 236
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:57 pm Reply with quote
I didn't know about the crime thing or other problems, but I do imagine that, as has been mentioned here, the higher price registration may have had something to do with the decline.

I was planning to go with some friends this year, but as soon as they announced the preregistration price and how much it went up it just didn't feel worth it.
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razisgosu



Joined: 26 Sep 2012
Posts: 650
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:01 pm Reply with quote
I dunno if the riots and violence were even the main turn offs. If anything I'd say Otakons crappy handling of 2014 and price increase of 2015 are to blame. Otakon 2014 was linecon everywhere. It was ridiculous.
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prime_pm



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
Posts: 2057
Location: Your Mother's Bedroom
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:07 pm Reply with quote
Living in downtown Baltimore, this is a really upsetting development. I really want better for my city but I just don't know what else can be done. At times I feel helpless. And now another piece of it will be missing after next year. So sad.

Well at least my video won first place in Comedy this year.
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