More than 60,000 players attended Pokemon Go Fest 2019 in Grant Park, Chicago over the four day weekend, according to an email from Chase Colasonno of Niantic’s PR Team.
That is roughly triple the attendance of last year’s fest, which was estimated to be around 21,000 people according to Variety.
In addition, over 287,000 trainers played Pokemon Go in the Chicago area. Pokemon Go Fest 2019 attendees caught over 15 million Pokemon, walked over 290,000 km and made over 213,000 friend connections, according to Colasonno.
Mike Quigley, the chief marketing officer of Niantic, said that the event duration was extended from two to four days because of trainer demand. Spreading out the event allows them to include more fans while dealing with less people each day.
This year, Niantic went with in-app ticketing. That means that instead of getting a physical ticket to the fest, your ticket is connected to your account and you can start participating in the fest as soon as you step through one of the two entrance points and into the event grounds.
Quigley said that the in-app ticketing was done to, among other reasons, eliminate the scalping of tickets that would occur in previous Pokemon Go events.
Quigley told Heavy that the reason they held Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago for the past three years was because the city is accessible to fans all around the USA and the world thanks to its trains and the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. He also said that the city is rich with history and culture.
“Exploration and discovery are such a key part of our products and so Chicago just lends itself for getting people outdoors, seeing these amazing views here on the lake within the city… Chicago is amazing in that regard,” Quigley said.
Niantic chose to go back to Grant Park for a number of reasons. While Quigley didn’t go into specifics, he said that Lincoln Park, where the fest was held last year, was longer and thinner while Grant Park is wider and expansive. That allowed them to build the physical habitats at the fest where certain kinds of Pokemon could hang out.
Quigley said that Niantic decides what Pokemon to include in Pokemon Go Fest 2019 based on input from The Pokemon Company and what Pokemon are rare enough to give fest attendees a treat or an opportunity to catch something they may have missed out on.