After reading Derek's awesome replies in this thread, I decided to go ahead and ask a question that has often popped into my mind: Is there data on the percentage of Gen-Con attendees who buy tickets to events? I have gotten into a few...probably not arguments, per se, but interesting discussions about whether people like me who go exclusively to engage in non-ticketed events (Auction, Exhibition Hall, casual cosplay, general socializing, et cetera) are such a tiny minority as to be outlying aberrations, or whether there is a significant number of us.
From the sheer number of events and players in said events, it seems on one hand to be obvious that most people buy lots of tickets, but there are also lots of people who do wall-to-wall events the entire convention, which might be skewing the numbers.
Obviously there may be reasons I may or may not understand as to why this data could either be unavailable or not something you would want to discuss, and obviously that is fine. But I figured I might as well ask!
I always get tickets for events every year. Wondering around and demoing is fun, but sometimes I like to have my convention planned out for me :)
For an unofficial answer, there's this poll of the facebook group. Note that this won't be a representative sample of all badgeholders.
Looks like about 4% do not participate in any ticketed events.
It would definitely be neat to see data, I think it deserves a bit more breakdown as well to distinguish general-interest ticketholders against people who are likely buying tickets as a result of specific special interests, and that might be their main draw for gencon. Im thinking things with large external followings, like TD, Pathfinder, heck maybe even train games and the library.
I have absolutely zero data to back up my opinion, but I suspect the 4% number isn't terribly far off. Even people who aren't gaming are likely attending anime events, or film fest, or the costume contest, or, or, or...
The first year I attended (2003) was just on a lark, as in "hey, it's in the town I live, I should go", and I didn't do any events. But by the second year that changed. I suspect that's the experience for a lot of locals. And for those traveling from elsewhere I expect they're preparing a lot more than I did, and part of that would be registering for events.
It's also a lot easier to find events and register in advance than it was 15 years ago.
Definitely added my 2 (per)cents to that Facebook poll, thanks ;)
I agree that it would be interesting to further see how much of a relative draw different things are to the convention. And I trod the opposite path you did, TDB; my first time attending, the only guy who had gone before convinced our newbie group that we would definitely want at least two events a day to keep from getting bored, and I think we ended up with 3 a few days (including a late-night LARP which instantly means regretting your decisions in the morning).
The next time we went, I got some flak from everybody for pushing back against the assumption that we should all do a bunch of events, as it seemed to me there was so much going on that you might end up regretting doing more than two events a day. Then the next time I went I discovered I loved the Auction and from that point it was a slow descent until I realized I skipped virtually every event I signed up for anyway so I might as well just accept my new eventless self :)
If you GM a game is it a ticketed event?
I assume that would not count, but I have absolutely no basis from which to make that assertion.
Also now that Auction volunteers have been reclassified in the system as Gamemasters, that could suddenly mean I was lying about not going to any events if that was the case, haha.