Parking for San Diego Comic-Con Moving to a Lottery Based System [UPDATE April 2]

parkingYou’ve got your San Diego Comic-Con badge, you’ve hopefully got your hotel – but what about parking? It’s a crucial piece of the puzzle for many attendees – although Comic-Con International offers a free shuttle to area hotels, and the city has the trolley and other public transportation options, the ability to have your own car in the vicinity, especially if you’re local, is crucial.

Ace Parking announced today that this year, parking lot assignments will be done differently than in the past. Although in 2014 Ace revamped their website to try to meet up with increased demand for parking, the system was met with some glitches, possibly due to a DDoS attack, or simply because they weren’t expecting the sheer number of attendees who all wanted parking at once.

This year, according to Ace to “provide the best experience possible and take the pain and pressure out of the process”, they’re moving to a lottery based system.

In order to be register, all you need to do is send an e-mail to (one entry per e-mail address) between now and April 12. After that, a random drawing will be done to select the winners, who will then be e-mailed by April 15 with “details on how to purchase your permit at the location you were drawn for”. If you are chosen, you are guaranteed a spot. If you are chosen and choose not to purchase a permit, it will be forfeited. The lots that are available in the lottery will be filled in this order:

  • Convention Center
  • Hilton Garage
  • Petco Lots (excluding Campus lot which will be closed for construction during Comic-Con)
  • Padres Parkade
  • Diamond View Tower
  • Horton Plaza
  • Gaslamp City Square

Once the lottery lots have been filled – which are the most sought after locations that Ace sells parking for – the system will be opened to the public for purchase of any remaining inventory.

[UPDATE April 2] We’ve learned some new information about how the sale will be run, directly from Ace Parking:

The sale is going to be done in phases by lot and each group will have five days to purchase their permit (weekend days included). In an effort to provide a small degree of flexibility, we’re also going to allow each group to purchase permits for their drawn lot and any lower priority lot. We do recognize the fact that people are going to have a preferance and some people we have drawn for the Convention Center may actually prefer the Hilton Garage and on down the list. If the Convention Center doesn’t sell out after the first group, the Hilton group will be able to purchase the remaining permits for the Convention Center and so on down the list. Also, refunds will be allowed and returned into the inventory pool for purchase by another user, so as the sale progresses refunded permits at the Convention Center and Hilton may become available for purchase by other customers.

Because selected users will only be able to purchase one permit (but for any/all needed days), this should hopefully keep lower-tier lots from selling out before the selected attendees for that lot have a chance to purchase them. Ace will continue the five-day group sales until all eight locations have been processed, and hope to have the system open to the public (anyone who wasn’t selected in the drawing) by the first week of June and keep it open through July 1, 2015.

Attendees who registered and are selected will receive an e-mail on April 15.

[UPDATE April 1] Ace answered some common questions about how the lottery will be run:

Q: If I send in multiple entries from multiple email accounts that I own and win one of them, can I purchase my permit with any of the emails I registered with or only the one that won?
A: Only the one that won. Your winning email address must be registered in the account you are going to use to purchase the permits. The purchase process will require you to log into your account first and will validate your email address. If your email address matches one on the selected list, you will be given the option to purchase a permit at the lot your name was drawn for. If there is no match, the option to purchase a permit will not be available to you.

Q: Can I register for the drawing with an email address that I haven’t registered an account with in the permit system?
A: Yes. Accounts in the permit system are separate from the registration emails. If one of the email accounts you entered from is selected to purchase a permit, you have the option to create an account for that email address, or update your existing account with that email address to qualify for the purchase option.

Q: If my entry is selected for a lot, can I purchase a permit for multiple days, or just a single day?
A: When you enter the system to purchase your permit, you will have the option to purchase permits for all five days during the show (preview night and four show days.)

Q: Can I register multiple times for the lottery?
A: Yes and no, the system will accept your entries, but the drawing will be restricted to one entry per email address.

You can find more information on Ace Parking’s website.

What do you think of Ace Parking’s new system? Let us know in the comments.

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site’s resident panel guru.

  • GadgetDon

    How much will the parking cost, roughly?

  • Yvonne Rider

    Another change in the long list of changes that make this event less enjoyable.

  • JLS

    I think it’s annoying that you can’t choose the lot you want. This system seems to presume that everyone wants four or five days at the Convention Center. All I want is Wednesday night at the Hilton and Sunday at Tailgate. I’m sure there will be clarifications but it’s unclear too whether, if you’re chosen, you’ll be able to only buy for certain days.

  • Investigatind Detective

    So basically every part of SDCC is now a lottery (badge, hotel, parking).

  • We’ve confirmed that you’ll be able to buy for any days that you want – but that all will be available to you.

  • JLS

    Thanks for the update!

  • Dean

    I’m not sure a lottery for parking is the best way. Last year wasn’t so bad. Well, maybe at first it was, but then things smoothed out just fine.

  • GooniesAndy

    What if you want convention center, get selected for, say Horton Plaza, but there are still plenty of spaces available at the convention center after the sale? The lottery for everything at once doesn’t seem like the best plan. Maybe it would be better to go with chunks of numbers… like, the first 500 people in the lottery get to have registration at once with all lots available to them. Then the next 500 get a second time with what remains, and so on. That way the system isn’t bogged down and people can choose from the actual inventory available.

    I’m also wondering how they are planning to deal with people sending in lottery draws from 100 different email accounts and how that will negatively impact honest people that just do it from one. This system just doesn’t seem well thought out.

  • GooniesAndy

    Last year was pretty horrible… system crashing, going up and down, charging people hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on how persistent they were, and then the long process of refunds. Lottery system is fine, but this is a horribly planned system

  • Katelyn Anne

    I got parking for last years in July, like a week before the con at the Petco Park lot…. I understand convention center went quick, but the petco lot was fine. Are we supposed to just send a blank email to that address or are we supposed to put a name or something in there?

  • SparkleBunny

    How about telling ACE to eff off and do the parking when people purchase their badge? Get rid of the unnecessary fee charge and make it acceptable pricing. ACE is notorious for gouging parking prices when events come to town. $10 flat is what parking there should be. No more. But people will purchase none the less. Thank god for not needing to use parking lot scams.

  • Adam

    They are probably doing it this year due to the reduced parking. As a reminder, they are running construction projects in a few of the parking areas that we have been using in the past.

  • Blue meanie

    When you even have to raffle off parking spaces for a convention, then you know it’s really bad. The days of being able to go to Comic Con are numbered. Comic Con needs to move to a new city with much bigger facilities…San Diego isn’t viable anymore. Too small, no resources and no expansion of the Convention Center. It’s hopeless and it’s inevitable. Leave San Diego. Move to Vegas.

  • Just blank.

  • Kristi Sk8

    You are talking about the same Ace that sold parking passes to 2 eBay resellers that were in China and the same one that has someone with a child in a wheelchair park on the 2nd level of the structure at Petco with only 1 elevator working in the parking structure and the elevator on the walkway on the parking side not working so you get to go over train tracks with the chair.

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  • jm5150

    Its looking more and more like sdcc will die soon. Everything is becoming epically lame (pun intended) I really really hate the randomness of the Epic system. First open and pre reg, then Professional guest badges, now parking. Im sure it will extend to ALL!!!! badge types next year..and last but not least “HOTELS”… either this year or next.. It makes the event pretty much a 1 in 3000 chance youll attend and have a hotel or parking. Who wants to bother?

    Mind you I dont participate in Parking sales but it just means everything is changing for the worse.

    I think I might start preparing for Wondercon every “even” year, followed by D23 every “odd” year as opposed to even going to sdcc every year. I can only afford one West coast con a year and SDCC is just getting ridiculous.

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  • Sean Thordsen

    My thoughts exactly, I can’t even figure out how they will draw a random e-mail address from probably over 100,000 e-mails. My guess is that they didn’t want to pay a professional reg company to handle the system. This seriously was better when they just soft launched it and didn’t tell anyone what day it would go up.

  • Katelyn Anne

    Do you have to use your comiccon registered email? What’s to stop someone from emailing from multiple different email addresses? Ie work and personal email?

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  • Julius Ulit

    F#$k this I’m taking the trolley. This is the last year I’m ever coming to SDCC. My first SDCC was in 1992. A 4-Day badge = $20. Enough said.

  • Julius Ulit

    Lottery for parking your car……….nail in the coffin right there.

  • GooniesAndy

    Ace owns all the parking lots. I don’t know how you could tell them to eff off.

  • GooniesAndy

    I’d love to hear how many emails are registered.

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