New York Comic Con attendance hits San Diego-sized numbers

New York Comic Con reportedly attracted more than 130,000 attendees over four days, meaning the six-year-old event is now roughly the same size as Comic-Con International, which has had to cap attendance because of space limitations. Last year, NYCC drew about 116,000 people; in 2007, its inaugural event, there were just 15,000.

ICv2.com receives the news from Lance Fensterman, global vice president of organizer ReedPOP, who lays out some of the changes this year, including a reduction in the number of three-day passes (allowing more new people to attend each day), and the use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) to try to clamp down on fraudulent badges and badge-sharing among exhibitors.

"I think we had wildly underestimated our fraudulent ticket issue," Fensterman told tells the website.  "We had the exact same number of ticketed people per day as last year, but if you looked at the common spaces, they were 40 percent less congested. We had a pretty big counterfeit problem."

The institution of RIFD didn't occur without some hiccups, however: As Comic Book Resources reported on Friday, many attendees were upset to learn that, when they picked up their badges and scanned a code on the back (ostensibly to reduce counterfeiting and to activate an offer from comiXology), they had given ReedPOP authorization to access their Twitter and Facebook accounts to send promotional messages about the event. In response to widespread negative reaction, organizers shuttered the service and apologized "for any perceived overstep."

New York Comic Con's attendance figures arrive only days after the California Coastal Commission approved plans for the $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, which would add 749,000 square feet of convention space, as well as a five-acre rooftop park, a waterfront promenade with retail shops and restaurants, and a second, 500-room tower to the adjacent Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. The project still faces obstacles in the form of a lawsuit opposing the hotel-room tax implemented to pay for part of the project, and likely another challenging the commission's approval.

Comic-Con International organizers, who have been wooed by larger venues in Los Angeles and Anaheim, California, last year extended their convention center lease through 2016, with the hope that the expansion would break ground in 2014 and be completed by 2018. According to Variety, "conversations are now under way" to tack another year to Comic-Con's lease.

New York Comic Con2014 is scheduled for Oct. 9-12.

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