The YouTube economy: How much does it cost to be a fan?

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We break down the costs of attending all the biggest YouTube events.

Just how much would it cost to be the No. 1 YouTube fan?

YouTube is the new entertainment medium of choice for today’s tweens and teens, but many of the platform’s stars have leapt from the digital space into reality with live events over the past few years. With live events ranging from individual meetups to small group events and massive, industry-wide conferences, YouTube is not just on your computer screen. To be an active fan means to take part in the real-life activities of YouTube fandom, and that doesn’t come cheap.

To run the numbers on how much your average YouTube fan shelled out in 2014, we worked with a few assumptions. Our hypothetical superfan lives in Chicago, giving her a midpoint in the country to travel to places, but also the opportunity to attend local meetups, keeping her costs down. We also gave her a friend with whom she could split hotel costs and encourage the community aspect of YouTube fandom. We didn’t calculate every single meetup any YouTuber had the entire year (that would take forever) but looked at the biggest tours, events, and some of the top names in YouTube entertainment in which our fictional attendee might take an interest.

But even that level of dedication comes a hefty price tag. Here are our calculations for each event.

Playlist (Orlando)

Ticket: $135
Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $346
Flight: $374
Local transport: $92 (cab to and from airport only)

MagCon (Chicago)

Ticket: $150 (VIP)
Train: $5.50 round trip

VidCon

Ticket: $150 (Community pass)
Hotel: Four nights at a hotel split with a friend, $498
Flight: $482
Local transport: $226 (cab to and from airport only)

DigiTOUR (Chicago)

Ticket: $82.50 (VIP)
Train: $5.50 round trip

INTOUR (California)

Tickets: $150 (VIP)
Hotel: Two nights split with a friend, $165
Flight: $358
Local transport: $180 (cab to and from airport to convention only)

Tyler Oakley Tour (Chicago)

Ticket: $85 (VIP)
Train: $5.50 round trip

Playlist Live (TriState)

Ticket: $135
Hotel: Three nights split with a friend, $254
Flight: $227
Local transport: $60 (cab to and from airport to convention only)


Just how much did our imaginary fan shell out over the course of the year? A cool $3,986 for 7 major YouTuber events in 2014. Of course, this takes no merchandise purchases, food, or other amenities into account. With just a single $25 shirt purchase per event and a conservative $25 per day food budget, our fan would have hit a grand total of an estimated $4,436 in 2014.

Of course, our fan could be so dedicated she’ll cross the ocean for her YouTubers to take part in London’s premier event, Summer in the City. If you add on those additional costs below, her grand total jumps precipitously.

Summer in the City (London)

Ticket: $65
Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $189
Flight: $1,145
Local transport: $50 (metro between airport and hotel)
Merch: $25
Food: $25

Total (with London) = $6,085

What could you buy with that kind of extra cash? Our fan could cover five semesters’ worth of books and supplies at the University of Illinois, or with just $800 more, she could buy a 2007 Chevrolet Aveo. Of course, YouTube events are priceless, and who really wants a Aveo anyway?

Photo via Tax Credits/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

Rae Votta

Rae Votta

A former YouTube reporter for the Daily Dot, Rae Votta has more than a decade of experience in the digital and entertainment industries. Her work has appeared on AOL, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Logo, VH1, Current TV, Billboard, and NYMag. She joined Netflix in 2016.