How Much Does Running a Big Tech Conference Cost?

Dale pointed me in the direction of this blog post that offers a rare insight into the sundry costs behind a major tech conference. DrupalCon is, I believe, the world’s biggest event celebrating all things Drupal. For the uninitiated, Drupal is a popular open source content management system that runs some of the world’s busiest websites (and may, in fact, be responsible for the world’s crop circles).

In the spirit of openness that pervades most open source products, the DrupalCon organizers have posted an ad hoc balance sheet for the conference. As somebody who’s organized a bunch of events (though none that big), they’re really interesting. DrupalCon had over 1400 attendees. Here are a few of the big numbers:

Revenue was more than a half million dollars at $542,350.
Our expenses came in at $356,569.31.
The Drupal community made a profit of $185,780.69 from DrupalCon DC…
Ticket sales for DrupalCon DC brought in $230,750.
Sponsorships of DrupalCon DC brought in $311,700.

I gather ticket prices were in the US $200 – 250 range. They had 54 sponsors who paid at least $2500 each.

Those are big numbers–the revenue and expenses are more than ten times that of Northern Voice or BarCamp Vancouver. I don’t have much to add, but I thought they’d be of interest to people who plan events.


  1. One of the things that is not reflected in this is approximately 1500 hours of uncompensated work by the organizing team, plus 100s of hours from volunteers. Probably about 400 hours went into the design and maintenance of the website alone

    Also, the conference sold out, and there was a huge number of people on the wait list.

    The Development Seed did an amazing job…

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