After DisCon III, the 2021 Worldcon, shared their membership update last month it seemed reasonable to guess that the coronavirus pandemic is creating a lot of suspense and having a dampening effect on fans joining DC. Just how true is that and how severe is the effect?
The Dublin 2019 and CoNZealand chairs agreed to furnish benchmark numbers from late in the year before their cons to make the comparison.
|WORLDCON||Dublin 2019 11/30/18||CoNZealand 12/28/19||DisCon III 11/20/20|
Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon commented about their November membership totals: “I’m still astounded and how we got to our final figure. This is indicative of something else though, fans especially local fans really came on board late.” Dublin finished with 6,525 attending and 8,430 total members.
Even so, Dublin 2019’s trajectory is in general what might be expected from a large Worldcon in ordinary times.
As for CoNZealand, South Pacific Worldcons (Aussiecon 2, 3, and 4, and CoNZealand) as a class are the four smallest Worldcons of the past 35 years. However, CoNZealand was by far the largest of that group, finishing with 2,685 attending and 1,939 supporting members, a total of 4,624. As much as the committee would have preferred a primarily in-person con, going virtual did not keep CoNZealand from surpassing the 2010 Aussiecon stats.
Since a U.S. Worldcon in ordinary times would be on track for high attendance, the effects of the pandemic seem evident from this comparison, and don’t come as a surprise.