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Recently in discussion, the subject's come up of convention… - Mongologue
March 22nd, 2011
04:56 am

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Recently in discussion, the subject's come up of convention attendance 'records'. Now, I'm probably about #3 or so in "People in the world who care about attendance at furry conventions", mostly because it is in my job description as Registration Director at Anthrocon. Every year we need to project attendance for placing orders of materials, for estimating space, for blocking out hotel rooms.. and the numbers for that fall squarely on my shoulders. So I spend a fair amount of time looking at convention numbers. I'll brag I'm pretty good at it by now: I projected 4200-4300 with an exacta  of 4224 for Anthrocon last year.. and we got 4238. My mind is in this space often.

Now, the aforementioned Anthrocon does have a fair number of attendance records as well: First con to cross 2000, 3000, 4000; highest attendance of a furry convention in its 5th year (and 6th, 7th, through the present). Anthrocon does not have the record for highest attendance in the first through fourth years of a convention. That record is held by Further Confusion. Sources for this are at http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Convention , which has derived information from http://www.mustelid.com/otterhall/afcis.html and other sources.

Now, in current discussion, the following statement was said: "FC basically ate ConFurence. We don't consider that a third year, because there was an established con already."

I'm going to very strongly disagree. Let's cover three reasons why FC deserves its attendance title.

#1: It's in a totally different location.

ConFurence occurred in the following cities in California: Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Irvine, Buena Park, San Diego, Burbank. All of these cities are located in Orange County in Southern California, except for San Diego, which is even further south. Further Confusion is a Bay Area convention, and has been held in San Jose, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. The closest locations  both conventions were held at are still hundreds of miles and six hours of driving apart.

#2 It's totally different management.


Further Confusion is and has been run by different fans than Confurence has been. The core directors of CF- Mark Merlino, Rod O'Reilly, and Daniel Exline- have not been involved in FC's management, nor as far as I can tell, were FC's founding management involved in CF before then. Some of FC's management structure (AA&E as a 'board' selecting a chairman each year) would appear to be a deliberate reaction to CF's management setup, though I can't prove that conjecture.

#3 Confurence kept going.

Confurence's decline in attendance started in 1999, when CF shifted to a new time slot and south to San Diego. And yes, that was the year Further Confusion premiered in CF's old time slot in January. It's generally safe to say the decline of CF can be somewhat attributed to FC's rising success; but CF still continued for five conventions after FC debuted, and there are other reasons why Confurence ended.. Unlike Califur, which started in 2004 and can somewhat be considered a successor to CF (Though I'd argue it's rather a different con as well), the two co-existed long enough to be clearly established separate entities.

In spirit, in management, in location, in legal sense.. Further Confusion was a new convention.  It deserves its records of  first through fourth year held highest attendance.

--Chi

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From:paracoon
Date:March 22nd, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
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Huh. I thought Furry Fiesta was supposed to have set a record in at least its second year?
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From:chefmongoose
Date:March 22nd, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)
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Second-year attendance of a furry convention, over 500 attendees:

Further Confusion: 987
Furry Fiesta: 780
Furry Connection North: 727
(Albany) Anthrocon ~600
Rainfurrest: 599
Midwest Furfest: 513
Furry Weekend Atlanta: 500
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 22nd, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
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Add the attendance figures for CF and FC and plot the first derivative. It becomes abundantly clear that there was a significant overlap between the two conventions that went away when CF ended. Further, if you discount the overlapping years, the trend from CF's attendance to FC's attendance is nearly linear.

This is muddied slightly by imprecise attendance figures for much of CF's lifespan, but that should not cause too severe an effect.

The upshot is that it doesn't matter that they were two distinct conventions. Competition between FC and CF resulted in the former's abnormally high attendance and the latter's eventual demise. FC's first years are a statistical anomaly, and that is a good explanation of why.
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From:chefmongoose
Date:March 22nd, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
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Absolutely, people chose attending FC over CF. Was occupying FC's mid-January timeslot a smart move on FC's part? Yes. Did FC's rise cause CF's demise? Arguably it was one of several large factors.

One big factor was simply 'It was different then', as well. In 1998 there were all of five furry conventions in the US: CF, FC, and Conifur on the west coast; Anthrocon and MFM in the East. A new first-year con in a timeslot that people had been used to attending the at-the-time biggest furry convention out there? Yup.

That said, I can't see this as any particular reason that FC doesn't deserve their attendance numbers to stand as a record. If they continued to grow while FC continued to decline, they must have been doing things right enough to continue that growth. The con was founded new, staffed new, in a location fairly far away. FC and CF were about as far apart as FWA and MFM, and are further apart than FCN and MFF are. (MFM certainly has lost some attendance to FWA, looking at their numbers.)

Tl;dr version: "Sure, that's a big reason for FC's high attendance. But FC was still a different and new convention."
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From:saribou
Date:March 22nd, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
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Most excellent write-up!
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From:warphammer
Date:March 22nd, 2011 11:27 pm (UTC)
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In a pure point #1 perspective, it's like saying Furfright is mooching off of Pittsburgh-AC's attendance, to give this some perspective. LA-San Jose (and that's being charitable, SJ being the very south end of the bay area) is a significant distance!

...also getting between the two is less trivial than one would imagine, but that's a whole other story about the retarded routing of I-5.

Edited at 2011-03-22 11:28 pm (UTC)
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From:chefmongoose
Date:March 23rd, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
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Well, Furfright is a little bit further from AC right now.. 7.5-8 hours away, whereas I'm seeing 6-7.5 hours between FC and CF locations. But given that for a good three years, Furfright was only 4 hours away from Anthrocon's Philly location... it's fairly comparable in the overall scheme of things. Especially as the San Diego move put CF a bit further south, and AC's Philly-Pittsburgh move put them a fair bit further west. No one would really claim FF was 'Not a new convention' because of its closeness to Anthrocon.

That distance, even at its 4-hour shortest, crossed three state borders. And FC and CF are both 'in California', which most people do not realize just the *span* of that state, indeed. I didn't for quite a while myself.

--Chi
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From:warphammer
Date:April 5th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
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As a note for later, someone has to fix the Wikifur page on this.
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From:chefmongoose
Date:April 14th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
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Done, yup.
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From:koogrr
Date:May 1st, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
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So, any records for the con I was involved with? Megaplex? Highest Fursuit ratio?
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From:chefmongoose
Date:May 4th, 2011 06:26 am (UTC)
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No idea! That'd be interesting to check, and not too hard. Fursuit Parade/Total Attendance is simplistic but it's the only metric I can think of. I know there are cons (Furfright 09) where it's exceeded 20%.
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From:greenreaper
Date:January 18th, 2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
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Largest furry convention run by a for-profit organization (though I have no indication that they actually run it for profit; their WikiFur entry suggests it was simply the most expedient route to incorporation).
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From:koogrr
Date:January 19th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC)
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I filed the paperwork, I paid for it, I've a bill on my credit card I could dig out if sufficiently motivated. There was some intention of switching it over to a non-profit later, but I guess that never happened.

Kinda neat, seeing my name on the Annual reports up to 2006.
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From:greenreaper
Date:January 19th, 2012 02:51 am (UTC)
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And your address! We know where you live[d] . . .

(Some furs get freaked out about that for some reason. You'd think they'd know that a public document would be public.)

Seems like a worthwhile investment considering all the fun people have had.
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From:chefmongoose
Date:January 19th, 2012 03:57 am (UTC)
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I've only known of two, Megaplex and NakamaCon. I figure it's just a case of 'It Ain't Broke, Why Fix It?"
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From:greenreaper
Date:January 19th, 2012 04:09 am (UTC)
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Well, it's a little harder to tell if it's broke until you do, given the lack of outside reporting! In fairness, stuff like Form 990 is all self-documented, so it would be possible for a small non-profit to fudge things on it without anyone outside noticing, at least for a while . . . but it's there as a reminder.
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