No On-Site SDCC 2013 Pre-Registration, Info Revealed Via Survey

There will be NO on-site pre-registration for 2013 at this year’s SDCC.

This morning, 2012 SDCC pass holders received an email from CCI, the organizers of San Diego Comic-Con, on the future of the on-site pre-registration process.

The email linked to a survey of eight questions suggesting CCI is looking at pre-registration via a restricted online sale for current-year pass holders, a lottery where random current-year pass holders are selected to pre-register for 2013, and even restricting the number of additional passes that can be purchased by a single pass holder.

The description from the survey clearly addresses the issues attendees experienced last year, and mentions it “will better assist us in trying to find the best way to face the challenges of having a popular show for which there are more people who want to attend than we have badges to accommodate”

From the survey:

Because of the sheer number of people who wanted to register at the show for the following year, we had to move 2012 pre-registration offsite to accommodate the lines of people and allow space for additional registration equipment.

Our plan in 2011, to have the pre-registration area open only until 11:00am each day or until the allotment of badges had been sold, was an effort to allow people to enjoy the show and not have to spend the entire day in line for badges. Unfortunately, even with these changes and a larger facility we could not accommodate every attendee who wanted to purchase a badge for Comic-Con 2012, and we did not avoid having a long line of people waiting to purchase those badges.

Comic-Con has decided to not offer onsite pre-registration for the 2013 show.

Instead, we plan to offer those who attend Comic-Con 2012 a special opportunity to purchase a 2013 badge after Comic-Con.

The good news is, no one will have to miss any of the convention this year by standing in line for next year’s con. The bad news, which we all expected would come some day soon, is that the heightened popularity of SDCC means the odds of getting a pass for the following year’s con is going to depend more on luck than location.

We’ll be covering this as more information becomes available.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments.

About Jeremy Rutz

  • Kyle

    Last year was awful–you prettymuch had to miss out on all of the panels one day to wait in line for badges. The previous years worked just fine–I was able to duck out of a panel and quickly buy my next years badge. In 2010 I was still able to get a 4 day w/preview on Sunday!
    I like that they are not doing the offsite thing. I wish they would just let you buy for next year when you pick up this year’s badge, do the loyal fans can keep going. Those who want into the system can always buy one of their last minute 4 day w/mission valley hotel packages–which is how I got my first tickets a few years ago.
    I hope they dont go the random route–at that point you may have no chance. Also, I hope they do limit how many people can buy–since I’m usually going on my own, I would prefer that they don’t let someone in line buy up 6 or 7 passes. Let each person get in line for their own badge.
    They should also do the press/pro registration before the general tickets–it would save on some of the commotion.

  • Artimus

    My suggestion:

    Open up 50% of 2013 badges for 2012 badge holders. First come, first served. HOWEVER, if you only have a Friday 2012 badge, you can only buy a Friday 2013 badge. And one per customer limit. Then a general public sale with a two badge limit to accommodate families.

  • Miranda

    I completed my survey this morning. I appreciate CCI’s efforts to come up with a fair system. Yet I’m nervous that for the first time in 11 years my best friend and I may not be able to get a 4-day pass for next year’s convention — especially if there is a lottery system. At least getting in line at 4am last year gave us an edge. But I understand that it was a whole lot of extra costs and logistical planning for a method that ended up angering most of the pre-reg customers. I hope we have a good chance of pre-registering for next year under the new system….


    I think that those who busted their ass to get tickets every year and who were the ones in line at 4AM last year to buy this years tickets should be allowed to purchase on site. It’s not our fault that the slackers who don’t log in every day to the sites or who aren’t constantly monitoring what’s going on via Facebook or Twitter don’t get tickets. If you are a true fan of the con then you know what it takes to score a ticket. All this whiners are the typical people who wait till the last minute and then complain.

  • HelenB

    The problem with onsite pre-reg last year was NOT that it was in a hotel (CCI did the right thing by having it at a bigger location). It was that CCI had a ridiculously low number of badges (2,500 per day, or 10,000 over the course of the entire Con) available for sale. If they had simply kept the actual registration open for the FULL TIME they had advertised (i.e. actually let people go in and continue buying until 11 am) then it would not have been a problem. The frenzy to buy badges was only worsened by the limited number available.

    However, it did NOT take an entire day to buy those badges. To get a pre-sale badge last year you had to arrive early to get in line. You were out the door by 10 am or earlier. That is NOT missing an entire day of the Con, which officially only opens at 9:30 am. Last year I got in line just before 4 am to get a pre-sale badge and was out of the room by 8:30 am with badges in hand. I didn’t miss ANY of the Coon that day (just a little sleep).

  • Oscar Intia

    For those who have 2012 Comic-Con badges, they should have priority for 2013 Comic-Con badges.

  • Steve Spero

    They had a perfectly good system through 2010. It would be better to expand the computer terminals on site and let people register for the following year. What they did in 2011 was terrible, and to register this year, one had to jump through all these hoops.
    Keep it simple, stupid.

  • Sheela

    You have ruined the registration process, which used to be simple, quick, and easy. You have needlessly hiked prices to the sky–check out the great low prices on your Wonder Con in Anaheim for a comparison. You have intentionally made it difficult for older people and the disabled to register for Comic Con 2012. And now your latest survey, May 2012, seeks permission to turn Comic-Con 2013 into private club limited to folks who have a ticket this year (and, even better, you are planning a drawing so that you can rid yourself of ticketholders you don’t like).

    You need to reduce crowd size? Easy–don’t show yourselves up. Stay home and run your business instead of trying to act like big shots hangin’ with studio brass who think you are a joke anyway. We should be able to fit in an additional 200 PAYING attendees–and we won’t miss you at all.

    Bottom line: go back to the registration process before you messed with it. Let people register right after they pick up their badges–there will be plenty of tickets left over for new people to buy later. And sell those through Ticketmaster or another respected ticketseller–rather than your system where you blocked your own link to the site until the right people got their passes.

    This isn’t for me, by the way. This is for the poor kid living somewhere other than southern California–the kid who has a minimum wage job, who has to save for a Con ticket and needs to know more than a day or two ahead of the sale date to get ready. This is for the kid who looks forward all year long to Con–who uses “It’s okay, I’ve still got Con to look forward to” to get her/him through the bad times when the bills don’t get paid and the roof leaks and ketchup soup is dinner. Yeah, the kid who either couldn’t afford your scalper-at-the-ticket-window prices or had to work during the thirty minutes you claim you sold tickets online. Yeah, that kid–who won’t be there is 2012 and who will, if you get your way, will never see another Con. Yeah, that kid–the one who could be any of us next year. I’m doing this for that kid. Now, what will you do?

  • Andrew Gallagher

    I posted the following under “The Controversy involving the 2012 Comic-Con Pre-Registration”.

    Pre-registration is such a scam. You have to camp out overnight in order to get a shot at badges and by the time you get them, you’re going to be so sleepy you just want to go back to your hotel room, wasting a day that could have used for the Con. I found out the hard way last year when I showed up at 7am to pick up my Saturday badge and took the long walk to the hotel next door where pre-registration was taking place only to be told all the badges were sold out. Because I only had a Saturday badge, I couldn’t show up on Sunday (or at least that’s what I was told). The official rules were if you didn’t have a four-day badge, you could only show up for the day your badge is good for after you pick up your badge, but then I heard unconfirmed rumors that people who didn’t necessary have a badge for a particular day were permitted to purchase this year’s badges at pre-reg. In other words, I wasted precious time taking the long walk to the hotel next door for nothing where I could have been waiting for a panel or browsing the floor instead.

  • When I filled out the survey yesterday, I had to think about several scenarios:

    1. What if I’ve been going every year and don’t want to break my streak?
    2. What if I’ve been going every year, but can’t get tickets to 2013, and want to go again in 2014?
    3. What if I’m a first-timer who wants to break into this comic-con thing?
    4. What if I’m planning to go with my wife, and we want to make sure that we both get tickets so we can go together?
    5. What if I’m planning to go with my family, and want to make sure we can *all* get tickets?

    You can’t limit registration to people who went last year (or even people who went sometime in the last five years), or you’ll end up stagnating. You want to kill the con, locking out new people is the way to do it. And you can’t limit people to one ticket or you’ll end up locking out families, which is a good way to lock out new people.

  • It’s also worth mentioning that the reason the old system used to work (and still works with other cons) is that demand wasn’t as high before. The same thing happened with hotels. Now, everyone knows that they sell out quickly, so they try to get in as early as possible, and every year it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The old system won’t work again until people don’t want to go to this convention anymore.

  • Erik Rogers

    I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I was not looking forward to lining up at 3:00 AM again this year for tickets, but the fact that I may not have any control over my ability to get tickets for 2013 is upsetting. It will all come down to their final decision on how to run the sale.

  • Joseph

    This event has grown astronomically in the last two to three years. It really needs to be moved to an arena with at least twice the capacity. However, the only way to keep it really fair in its current location is to super crack down on the amount of people professionals, vendors, and media can get into the show.

    Also, unfortunately, pre-registration for the following year should be totally eliminated and all badges should be put up for grabs at the same time. I know veterans hate this idea, but this has become a show for veterans ONLY, and that’s not what it’s supposed to be about. It’s supposed to be about the fans, not just the pop-culture insiders.

    After all those measures have been taken (which they won’t, thanks to the brilliand sdcc management), if the demand still hasn’t been somewhat relieved, the only other option is to eliminate 4 day with preview badges and only sell single day badges, then double the price.

    Then, if that doesn’t work, the next step would be to split each single day pass into two halves, one for the first half of the day, and one for the second half of the day. And with the increased badge prices, hire more security to check IDs and badge specifics.

    But none of this will happen because SDCC doesn’t care. Oh well, at least I can vent a little.

  • Jen

    How unfortunate that acquiring tickets has turned into such a fiasco. My husband and I have attended since 2009, and have attended with just as many people as there are now. The presale on-site badges seemed to go smoothly and were available to anyone attending…and later there were tickets for newbies or anyone else.

    Last year there were people who actually stayed the night out on the hard sidewalk, to make sure they could acquire a ticket for this year. Last time I checked, getting a decent night’s sleep on a hard sidewalk where people are coming and going at all hours is nearly impossible, not to mention grossly uncomfortable….even if the SDCC said their purpose in limiting badge sales was to protect someone’s con experience, it backfired if you had to stay the night away from your already overpriced hotel room…which incidentally, you didn’t sleep in because you were on the sidewalk! Plus, your day would pretty much be ruined because you’d spend the day in a half-awake stupor-again, from lack of sleep. I refer to those of us of an older ilk who do require at least some sleep to enjoy daylight.

    I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the Twilight craze officially invaded and then truly turned upside down what should be a weekend to be celebrated. There are so many Twilight fans; they number in the MILLIONS, so why don’t they just hold their own fanfaire and center it around those who have that interest? Honestly, the con would not be missing anything without them, and then we’d all win. It seems that there are people who have attended Con solely to see this panel and the stars…which pushes out people who want to go for the comics. It IS still about comics…isn’t it?

  • Matt S.

    My sentiments exactly, Erik. While I am trilled with the fact that I do not have to miss a day of the convention waiting in line for next years tickets. I am worried about the problems of previous years online ticket sales that just were not able to handle the sheer volume of people demanding passes. At least, there is some comfort in knowing immediately if you are not getting tickets rather than waiting hours only to be turned away.

    With that being said, I just think the convention has grown too large for its own good. I for one am considering skipping it next year in favor of Wondercon, which is much smaller and less expensive in comparison.

  • Doug

    This is disappointing, but not too surprising. I bought 4-Day w/Preview last year, and I had my receipt in hand before the Exhibit Hall even opened. I even got to see every panel I wanted that day (Thursday), so I literally missed nothing AND pre-registered for 2012.
    If CCI canceled everything that involved a long line, there would be nothing left for Comic-Con! I’d much rather miss out on pre-reg because I didn’t get in line early enough, vs missing out on pre-reg because of a computer error or bad internet connection (i.e. I don’t mind missing out on pre-reg because of my own fault, vs missing out on pre-reg because of something out of my control).

    In theory this is a cool idea, and I’ll reserve judgement until after experiencing the process.

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  • Susan

    My son & I have gone to Comic-Con for the last 5 yrs and for the 1st time this year we couldn’t get tickets – and it’s a major disappointment. So they’re going to give the people who were lucky enough to get tickets this year first preference on tickets for the future?? That’s so unfair. And since the survey was of people who have tickets, of course they’re going to say they should get to buy first.

  • Terry

    You really want to make it fair, and have plenty of tix available? Then how about having no exclusive items being sold on site. 75% of the people are there to try and make a quick buck on ebay. Or, just limit the amount of exclusives that can be sold at any one vendor. This will. A.) make the whole convention less crowded because we wont have people moving 100 items to thier car, B.)you wil get rid of all those people trying to make a fast fortune. c.) people will be in a better mood because they wont get pissed that they stayed 4 hours in the Hasblo line for nothing.. D.) security costs can be cut down because you wont need to turn them into line monkeys at every corner. E,) Less Fire Marshall involvment D.You wont need to show up at 5am, for a 930 opening because people wont need to run to get somewhere..
    Thats a start

  • Kris

    I have four grown children, their spouses and children for a grand total of 17. We were seriously considering making a family reunion with this event. Three of us are artists, two grandchildren as well. It would take our tax returns plus savings to make a pleasant weeklong adventure and homecoming.
    So much for that idea.

  • chris

    i have always wanted to go to comic con but could never get tickets. with the new way they are doing this it looks like I will never get to see this con. this is nothing but a load of crap. the person on here who said fair is fair is full of crap because everybody should have a shot at going to this con not just the same people each and every year. the ONLY fair thing to do is open the ticket sales to the general public whether you went this year or not so everyone gets a fair shot.

  • NoBadge

    Last year, I went to Comic-Con 2011 with a badge.

    However this year, I wasn’t able to get a badge online. There were three times online to buy a badge for Comic-Con 2012. The first time, I kept getting pushed back in line inside that online queue waiting room or whatever they called it. I was like 40 places away from being able to buy a badge when they all sold out. The next time, when they had a very short supply of badges, those sold so quickly. Then the third time for returned-refunded badges, I got shut out of even getting into the waiting room queue. Tremendously awful. I was so very very disappointed.

    Yet, I still went to Comic-Con 2012 albeit without a badge.

    Like every year before, I wandered all around the convention center but this year I could only peek into the exhibitors hall or the rooms where the panels were held, etc. This was the first time that I wasn’t able to get a badge ever and I’ve been going ever since back to the late 1970s. If you go to these things long enough over the years, it becomes almost like the same thing year after year except that you have a new different spin that you still want to see. And even if you had a badge, you may still check on the internet for an article or a video to catch up on a panel in Hall H or in one of the ballrooms, or an appearance by someone at a booth in the Exhibitors Hall. HOWEVER, although the experience is kind of the same because I was there, it’s still not completely the same because I couldn’t officially get in to at least the Exhibitors Hall to see the new displays.

    Nonetheless, I still got free stuff, including a swag bag, comic-con event books but not the souvenir book (although can get that on ebay) and took tons and tons of pictures of all the cosplay people who were wandering around. And, for me to really consider the experience of going to these sorts of events, it’s the people-watching and the window-shopping (looking at stuff but not necessarily buying) that I was most interested in. So, I had to subtract a lot of the window-shopping looking at what’s at the different booths. Oh well, that’s okay since that meant that I wasn’t going to spend too much at all. And even without a badge, I was still one of those exhausted people after walking and having to sit down on the rug in the hallways, walkways, and lobby areas of the convention center. But, of course, I missed the panels that would have been nice to go to — although I probably would have missed them anyways even if I had a badge because I probably would have been wandering around doing something else or because I probably didn’t want to get in the typically monstrously long line for Hall H that could string its way out to across the street and even further out by the boats in the harbor. Of course, for the panels, could take the easy way out by searching for articles and pictures on the internet and watch videos including any sneaky hidden cams that were made of any exclusive preview footage on youtube, and that way would vicariously feel like I’m there living the experience. So it’s almost the same although not completely the same if you understand what I’m saying.

    And of course, there was definitely a lot of free no-badge-needed stuff outside of the convention center — like at the park by the Hilton for Warner Bros with the batmobiles and the WB Extra stage. Plus they were selling food near there also. And then there was all the stuff across the street from the Convention Center and up Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp area including at least two art galleries that had a lot of comic book art that you would expect to see at the art show inside at the Comic-Con. And there was all the food over there but I was able to snag some free drinks and food too.

    It was like as if the Hollywood studios, vendors, and whoever didn’t get any booth space, or not enough booth space, inside the Exhibitors Hall in the Convention Center, then they would do the alternative of setting up some sort of space outside the Convention Center by taking over different outside open areas. Plus there are all the promotional marketing that dressed up the buildings for promoting various new upcoming movies. And even Yahoo Movieland took over one whole storefront for their interactive experience. It was all like a natural overflow of the Comic-Con to take advantage of all the people who would be out there as well as put stuff somewhere that couldn’t fit inside the packed Convention Center. The Comic-Con could really support double the size of the current Convention Center but there is still a bit of the political wrangling in San Diego as to when and how the Convention Center will actually be expanded again. The expansion will happen, they want it to happen, but it really should happen as soon as possible as in right now.

    So, the selfish side of me desperately wanted to get a badge, but since I got shut out in getting a badge for the first time ever, then I had to settle for what I could do without a badge.

    Also, if not getting a badge instead meant a new person was able to get into the Comic-Con for the first time, then that’s great. I’ll be happy for whoever is getting into Comic-Con for first time because I know they’re having a tremendously good time.

    And if i can’t get a badge next year, then I’ll probably do the same thing as i did this year where I still go to the Comic-Con, wander in and around the Convention Center, take a peek at what I can as well as hang around and take pictures of all the people in costume, while still do all the walking over there in the Convention Center but on a much more abbreviated basis since I can’t officially roam around inside the Exhibit Hall — and then wander around the overflow with related things that are just outside the Convention Center.