Mon October 15 2018

rAge 2018 saw marginal attendance drop as Comic Con made debut

by Charlie Fripp

It was always a concern and a topic of discussion before the events even took place, but it does seem that Africa’s first Comic Con had an impact on the visitor numbers at rAge this year. The annual computer game and technology exhibition stood uncontested as the go-to venue for all things geeky, but Comic Con’s arrival this year a mere two weeks before rAge opened its doors is the start of some possibly healthy competition.

Last year rAge attracted 35 845 visitors, but this year the attendance was marginally down with 34 002 visitors. That is a decline of 1 843, or 5.14%. It’s not that big of a drop, but considering that Comic Con had 50 000 visitors per day over the 3-day weekend, its clear that rAge didn’t appeal to that target market.

Michael James, Senior Project Manager and owner of rAge, explained that the decline in visitor numbers were expected.

“While figures were down slightly, this is something we anticipated as a result of new market entries such as Comic-Con playing in the same space so close to our dates. Everything considered though, the impact on rAge was negligible.”

In 2016, rAge saw its previous attendance record being broken with 34 693 visitors - which was subsequently improved upon last year.

rAge visitor numbers over the last 10 years:

rAge 2018 - 34 002

rAge 2017 - 35 845

rAge 2016 - 34 693

rAge 2015 - 33 068

rAge 2014 - 31 254

rAge 2013 - 32 626

rAge 2012 - 28 930

rAge 2011 - 25 000

rAge 2010 - 20 316

rAge 2009 - 19 488

rAge 2008 - 18 380

Even with the decline in this year’s attendance, it is still the third-highest attendance record over the last decade. It is however the biggest drop in visitor numbers for consecutive years over the decade, with the previous decline registering 1 372 less visitors between 2013 and 2014.

But things were also done a bit differently than previous years.

“The floor plan was dramatically changed to allow for more breathing room. The LAN was repositioned, and by all accounts this went down well with our dedicated gamers and fans. We hosted a few large-scale casual esports tournaments that saw permanent queues the entire weekend, as well as some very happy winners,” James concluded.