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More Worldcon Space Stuff - RonO's Ramblings

Sep. 20th, 2012 04:34 pm More Worldcon Space Stuff

Prompted by this discussion on Kevin Standlee’s Live Journal, I did a bit of playing with space (not budget like Kevin’s post) for one real Worldcon, and 3 theoretical Worldcons.  The real Worldcon, the recently finished Chicon 7.  The three theoretical Worldcons: one at the Albuquerque Convention Center, two slightly different layouts at the San Diego Convention Center and a layout at the Town and Country in San Diego.

My details are on a Google Drive (f.k.a. Google Docs) spreadsheet, which I’ve made publicly readable.

My conclusions still hold: The only viable site out of the three is the San Diego Convention Center.  Albuquerque has the space (plus an extra 60,000 square feet of exhibition hall I couldn’t put to use), but not the hotels (951 rooms nearby, possibly more in some obscure hotels), and the T&C doesn’t have the space.

Actually, I was able to get everything into the T&C, but only by using all of the space, including the space that is for all intents and purposes inaccessible.  And this still is the smallest usage.  (It is possible that it is closer to what Chicon 7 actually used – I couldn’t recall for sure if all of the smaller rooms on the “Silver” and “Bronze” levels were used or not).  And this would actually be sprawling the convention across what are actually two or three hotels, with a bunch of odd sized and oddly located rooms.

None of my runs took into account Con Suite (I left that space out of my Chicon 7 “leftover” space).  For the two convention center layouts, this would probably have to be a room at the one of the adjacent hotels (I’m not sure either actually has a connected hotel), and even then it might end up in a sleeping room or suite.  This is another area where the T&C could be problematic.  The T&C pretty much gives us two choices for con suite: where it was for WFC 2011 and Anime Conji 3, and where it is for Conjecture, Condor and Gaslight Gathering – both of which would not work well for a Worldcon con suite (too small, overflow seating to outside – either against a fence or down a goodly flight of stairs).

I also didn’t take parties into account.  I cannot speak to either of the hotels adjacent to the SDCC, nor the ones adjacent to the Albuquerque Convention Center.  But the rooms in the T&C would make a Worldcon party scene nearly impossible.  They’d either be in what I’ve described as the world’s tallest motel, or in a building with cramped hallways and vertically stacked suites.

As far as the 2.5 San Diego options are concerned, I will again reiterate: This is only theoretical.  If you throw $20.00 at me, you better either be expecting to pre-support the Westercon bid, or you are buying me dinner!


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Date:September 21st, 2012 05:43 am (UTC)

The SDCC has the Hilton to the east and the Marriott to the west. The Hyatt is west of the Marriott. CCI has used hotel space for Consuite for years and it works ok, but isn't convenient to all the folks at the SDCC. However, getting to the Marriott is relatively easy. I've not tried the Hilton yet, but CCI does use their large ballroom for large events. I'd lean towards the Marriott for ease of access.

As for C7, they did have some usage on Silver and I believe Bronze. The one room without ADA compatibility was in the latter for the Fannish Inquisition. I'm pretty sure anyway.

Just my 2 cents :-)

<== Mike ==>
Date:September 21st, 2012 03:06 pm (UTC)
Had we the committee, and thought that we could get hotel rates down to a viable Worldcon level, I suspect that the Marriott would be the headquarters hotel as it is as close to connected as any disconnected hotel can get. As Comic-Con can get a corkage waiver, the mythical San Deigo Worldcon could probably also get such a waiver, or would at least have a precedent to lean on.

The only two concerns I'd have with selling a mythical San Diego Convention Center Worldcon, or at the con, would be complaints about the con being on the upper level of the convention center with the access to the adjacent hotel(s) being at ground level, and the few people who wouldn't like the fact that there is a gap of actual outside between what would be the main exhibition space (Sails) and the area with most of the smaller program rooms (plus the stages if we were to use Ballroom 20). On the other hand, I think I could sell it 100% easier than a bid being shoehorned into the T&C. But I still stand by my assertion if San Diego wants to run a Worldcon, we'd be better off carpet bagging the Anaheim Convention Center where we'd at least get acceptable hotel rates.

When I did my numbers for C7, if anything I added some rooms that C7 didn't use. I counted all of the function space except that that I'd already counted for the large functions and the three rooms being used for Con Suite, and summed the space in all of them.
Date:September 22nd, 2012 07:18 am (UTC)
Ron, I would think you could use Exhibit Hall A for Dealers Room, Art Show, Exhibits. You could then use Rooms 1-11 upstairs as well as 12-19 on the Mezzanine level. I don't think the sails would be needed let alone Room 20. Remember that 6ABCDEF seats 4000. 6A is 1000, 6B is 1000, 6CDEF is 2000. Other combos are possible.

<== Mike ==>
Date:September 21st, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
One thing I find interesting is that the measurements of area per attendee (Worldcons appear to have about twice the area per attendee as other events) backs up my contention that we could double the size of Worldcon without significantly changing its nature. This also fits in with the organization theory from Tom Whitmore of "powers of five" that posits that the number of layers of organization necessary to run the convention are based on the size of the event in powers of five. As we stand now, we're at the 3125 level (5^5), and the management structure is, roughly:

Division Managers
Area Heads
Staff and Volunteers

(The general formula actually takes one layer out on the grounds that 5^0 and 5^1 are the relatively trivial cases of "pick up a fast food meal" and "hold a dinner party.")

So the current management structure probably holds together until the convention grows to the neighborhood of 15K people (5^6), at which point you have to throw in one more layer between the chair and the divisions, probably, to keep things manageable.

The actual challenge is growing Worldcon to the approximately 10K members that we know how to manage with current structures, while making effectively use of the space we've already been having to take for the smaller 5K event.

BTW, DragonCon is a "class 6" (5^6) event. ComicCon is a class 7 event. Both have some paid full-time organizers, and I don't begrudge them. They need them. Worldcon would change nature if it passed into class 6 attendance. I think some of the grumbling from old-timers who were at the Worldcons prior to the 1970s growth spurt is that Worldcon grew from a class 4 to a class 5 event then, and that did change the nature of the event rather significantly.

To my knowledge, Worldcons never made a deliberate effort to grow to their current size. We've effectively reached the end of where organic growth can take us without doing something different. What that difference is, I can't be certain.