Just Another Statistic at San Diego Comic Con

I was pretty much all set for my trip to San Diego Comic Con this July. For those unaware, “SDCC” is traditionally a four-day event held in San Diego every year that showcases professionals, exhibitors and special guests who have ties with comics, science fiction, film, and other popular arts.

I had the flight, rental car, and hotel all taken care of. Everything was going according to plan….all I needed were my Comic Con tickets which went on sale this past weekend. Unfortunately, I was one of the unlucky many who were unable to get a ticket, as all of the tickets sold out within 90 minutes of opening them up to public. Live and learn right?  I think next time I’ll get my Comic Con tickets first before booking anything else.

I then started wondering how much attendance has grown for this event since its inception.  I found data on attendance and convention dates on Wikipedia. I entered the data into Minitab, and then went to Graph > Time Series Plot > Simple. Under ‘Series’ I put in my column for Attendance. I also stamped my date column under Time/Scale > Stamp.

This is what I came up with:

I noticed that the increase looked pretty gradual until 2004, when there was an increase in 25,000 people from the previous year. I decided to see if it had to do with where the convention was held. I went back into Graph > Time Series Plot and chose ‘With Groups’ instead of 'Simple'. I ended up using a column for Location for my 'Categorical Variable for Grouping'. Here’s what I got:

It may be hard to see the legend when you are reading this blog, but the puke-green triangles represent Comic Con’s current location, the San Diego Convention Center. That sharp increase from 2003 to 2004 still intrigues me, though, because location didn’t change between those years. Fortunately, I was able to find this little tidbit about the 2004 convention in the Wikipedia article:

Comic-Con expands into Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center and 
now occupies the entire exhibit space.

So that explains why more people were able to attend, but such a large increase still makes me wonder if the event's growing popularity had more to do with that sudden boost in attendance than anything else. By 2006, the San Diego Convention Center had reached maximum occupancy. Some people weren’t even allowed in the building on Day 3 of that year's event due to overcrowding.  

Comic Con's recent popularity might be explained by its perception as a ever-growing phenomenon. Whenever you have something that becomes more popular almost by the minute, it’s going to attract still more people (like me, and I don't even read comics). The convention itself has a wide appeal, as it showcases events tied not only to comic books, but also to TV shows, cinema, etc. Being able to meet your favorite actors and writers doesn’t hurt the appeal, either!

If I wander around the convention dressed as a giant Minitab logo, maybe someone will let me in out of sheer curiosity. (See my rough costume sketch below.) 

I could tell them that Batman uses Minitab to analyze his data. It sounds kind of plausible...I mean, someone has to stop the Riddler's stat queries, right?



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