Infographics: How SDCC Compares To Other Conventions

The market for comic and mutli-genre conventions has never seemed so crowded — this year alone, more than 400 Comic Con-esque conventions happened all over North America, ranging from the small (like the Southern Maryland Comic-Con, which has four special guests) to the large (like New York Comic Con, which had over 500).

There are now conventions geared toward almost any and every specific interest you could possibly have — want more Doctor Who? Head to Gallifrey One. Love Power Rangers? Check out Power Morphicon. Are you a furry? There are at least 13 conventions in North America to choose from.

Yet no matter how many conventions come onto the scene, the one held as the pinnacle of everything that a “Comic Con” should be is still San Diego Comic-Con. While it wasn’t the first comic-fan convention, it’s long held the crown as the largest, the one with the most buzz surrounding it, and in our opinions, the best. But why is that?

It’s certainly been around long enough to gain its reputation as North America’s favorite multi-genre convention. The first SDCC was held in 1970, 43 years ago. That can’t be the only reason for its fame though — by contrast, New York Comic-Con is the second largest pop culture convention, and it recently celebrated only its seventh year.

Many other conventions have gained a loyal following (including some of our favorites, like D23 and WonderCon) — yet there’s just something about San Diego Comic-Con. Is it the square footage, the amount of panels, amount of attendees?

Here’s an overview of the convention in 2013:


Let’s take a look at how it compares to some of our other favorite conventions (click for a larger version):


Of course, even this doesn’t tell the complete picture. Some conventions are better than others at fostering a sense of community outside the convention center, some offer more autograph and photo opportunities with celebrities, and some focus more on the quality of their exhibitors and vendors. Our very own Shawn Marshall and his The_Con_Fluence_Covers recently developed their own classification system, to help attendees figure out whether a convention meets their specific desires.

No matter what you’re looking for in a convention, though, these days it’s easier than ever to find one that suits your needs — and a large part of that growing popularity is due to SDCC.

For a more in depth look at how these conventions compares to SDCC, check out our individual reviews of each convention:

Do any of these numbers surprise you? How do you think San Diego Comic-Con stacks up to your favorite, or local, convention? Let us know in the comments!

*All numbers pulled directly off convention websites or gathered through correspondence with convention PR. Website links: 

San Diego Comic ConNew York Comic Con
Fan Expo Canada
D23 Expo

Graphics and additional reporting by Sarah Lacey.

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site's resident panel guru.
  • SD Convention Center

    Great infographic! The San Diego Convention Center is actually a bit bigger at 2.6 million sq. ft.

  • Pingback: San Diego Comic-Con – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) [UPDATED Nov 4]

  • Mel Shaw

    For years we have heard Anaheim Convention Center is bigger than San Diego and that’s why we might lose Comic-Con, but according to this graphic San Diego is much larger than Anaheim. Are you sure that info is correct?

  • roypar

    Mel, I think they were referring to contiguous square feet. Over the past few years, San Diego’s shown that contiguous doesn’t matter when referring to Comic Con. There are so many places to put booths and tents to show off and present your product, it might even be more advantageous to have a booth outside the spectacle inside. There are people who don’t have tickets for inside who come downtown just to soak in atmosphere and some vendors can take advantage of them. I noticed how busy the Hello Kitty Booth outside was and noticed people who couldn’t get badges were excited to be able to buy things from them even though they couldn’t get into the convention center.

  • Kerry

    The San Diego Convention Center is definitely larger than the Anaheim Convention Center.

  • Kerry

    We’re only referring to the space of the convention center – so for instance with SDCC, we didn’t even take into account the Indigo Ballroom or Marriott spaces utilized. It’s just that the SD convention center really is that much larger than the Anaheim one.

  • STL_ben

    I don’t know exact numbers but I would think C2E2 would be up here with the “Top Scale” cons.

  • Kate Evans

    And they’ve just approved a proposal to make it even larger. Won’t that be fun?

  • Pingback: Tucson Comic-Con, Small but Mighty! | Geekly Press

  • Kyle

    Anaheim has a larger exhibit hall of 815,000 sq feet vs SD’s 615,00, but in terms of panel rooms and ballrooms in total then San Diego is larger.

  • Pingback: Dear Santa: San Diego Comic-Con Wish List (Part 1)

  • Pingback: The Twelve Months of Comic-Con: 2013 Recap (Part 2)

  • luis

    what about comparing anime conventions or at least can someone compare the stuff in this chart compared to anime expo being it being one of the top 3 anime conventions

  • Pingback: Editorial: The Rise and Fall of Comic Conventions?

  • Pingback: All Things: San Diego Comic-Con - Page 72

  • Pingback: Keep Calm and Prepare for Con | Acta Dinerda

  • Pingback: Countdown To SDCC 2014 Part 2 | Pop Culture Maven

  • Denz

    Good stuff, you might want to throw the Salt Lake Comic Con events into your list in the near future, while they still lack the big time vendors, they are killing it with great attendance and some wonderful guests