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In a not so distant land in the great city of Boston, the first full weekend of April heralded the return of two great conventions in the New England Area. Both Anime Boston and PAX East were held from April 6th through the 8th, generating what was sure to be a huge amount of economic income for the great city of Boston.
An anime and gaming fans dream weekend, there were some that could not stand the allure of two simultaneous conventions and therefore attended both. At around the same price and in relative distance to food, hotels and transportation, what is a fan to do when faced with the challenge of deciding which event to attend. A variety of factors contributed to which convention many of the Convention goers wanted to attend, some of which were small differences that made a huge impact upon the conventions attendance rate.
Anime Boston was held within the Hynes Convention Center, which geographically was located much further than Boston’s South Station transit hub. In contrast, PAX East was located a literal stone throw across the Fort Point Channel from South Station, making transportation that much more convenient for PAX attendees.
Logan airport is minutely closer to PAX East but a cab ride is required for both PAX and Anime Boston. Trains were also available that traveled right past the convention center but traveling with luggage on a public train is not advised.
Winner: PAX East
Hotels and Motels
Both conventions, due to being a short distance of about 3 miles apart, shared many of the same hotels. Many of the downtown area hotels were booked solid through the entire weekend, especially those closest to the convention centers and with cheaper deals. For those looking for cheap hotels, looking away from the Hynes Convention center was a smart strategy since the surrounding areas were considered more trendy and expensive with hotels such as the Hilton Back Bay, The Mandarin Oriental as well as the Sheraton already attached to the convention.
The hotels surrounding the Boston Convention Center aren’t all that different either unfortunately since it’s close to waterfront property as well as downtown, theatre and financial districts. Research is required for the savvy traveler to find a good deal on hotels but for easy access to some of the best hotels in town the area near the Hynes can’t be beat.
Winner: Anime Boston
Continuing the trend from the hotels, the food surrounding both conventions is good but equally expensive in some cases. Convention goers can expect to have a variety of food available with food west of the Hynes convention center being on average, cheaper.
Another area that is right between the two convention centers for cheaper food would be Chinatown and the financial district and so it’s really more about finding the right places, doing the research to save money where desired. For a more trendy and upscale eating experience, head towards the food around Anime Boston and the Hynes convention center, even the people at PAX East will tell you that.
Winner: Anime Boston
Both conventions were huge events taking place with tens of thousands of people in attendance. Badges were sold out for the first two days of most events on top of an early sell out on the 3 day badges. The feeling though, was that even on Sunday, the slowest day for both conventions, PAX East still felt more crowded as well as more exciting than Anime Boston did on Saturday, Anime Boston’s most crowded day.
However, the numbers themselves do not lie. Historically, Anime Boston has about 20,000 people in attendance for its 200,000 Sq Ft. event space, if you include the registration center inside the Sheraton Hotel. Then consider that historically, PAX East usually has more than 30,000 attendees for its nearly 600,000 Sq Ft. event space at the Boston Convention Center.
These numbers are only accurate in that this is generally the total allotted number of passes sold, not the total number of times a person attended. That number is the turnstile number, for which a single person with a 3 day pass is counted 3 times. AnimeBoston’s posted turnstile number is a tabulated 53,007 total attendees for the entire 3 days while PAX East’s number is likely 70,000+ turnstile.
It becomes clear that Anime Boston was more crowded because Cosplayers, decked out in full anime costumes with large wings or swords, stopped foot traffic because people kept taking pictures of them. Far more line inducing at PAX East were the demos, pre-orders, convention and game exclusives but that didn’t seem as bad considering the Boston Convention center is nearly 3 times bigger than the Hynes convention Center.
Winner: Pax East
At about 30-35 dollars depending on the day in which you went, as well as how early your ordered your pass, both conventions are the same price. Saturday is generally the biggest day with the most people who have time to attend and so it accordingly costs more. If you were lucky enough to snag an advanced 3 day pass your savings were that much greater!
Part 2 in the Battle of the Boston Convention wraps up both the management and the content of both conventions, yielding a winner by a narrow margin.
Image Courtesy of sushiesque