San Diego Comic-Con FAQ: What Is Group Buying?

©2014 WBEI

©2014 WBEI

We often stress that no one is guaranteed a badge to San Diego Comic-Con. While that may sound daunting, it’s simply the truth: There is more demand for badges than there is space available (and no, moving to XYZ convention center is not magically going to hold 1 million+ people). We estimate that there’s roughly a 50% chance to score a badge during Returning Registration, and a 6.11% chance during Open Registration – which aren’t bad odds comparatively (your chance to hit the jackpot in Powerball is somewhere around one in 175 million, and millions of people play that), but it’s definitely not a guarantee.

So how can you ensure that you get a badge? Well, you can’t. It’s purely down to chance. But there are things that you can do that help increase your odds of scoring one of the coveted golden tickets, including utilizing group buying.

Which leads us to: What is group buying?

Most seasoned San Diego Comic-Con goers are familiar with the term, because the nature of the convention has taught us that in order to be successful, it’s better to work in a team. This can be as simple gathering a group of your friends and family, who maybe want to attend the convention this year or who maybe don’t, to help you.

The theory is simple: The more people you have trying for a badge, the more likely it is that at least one person is going to make it through to checkout. And since each person who is randomly selected to checkout during Open Registration can purchase up to three badges (including, but not necessarily, for themselves) for anyone who is eligible for the sale, working in a group can ensure that everyone wins. If you’re working in a group of six, and only two people make it through to checkout? That’s okay, because now you all have badges!

In order to participate, you’ll need to share some information. Don’t share your unique Registration Code, but you will need the Member ID and last name of each person you’re purchasing for.

And as we get asked this question every year, we do want to point out one thing: If someone in your group makes it through before you do and purchases your badge, and then you make it through to checkout, there will be a screen to enter a Member ID. If you’re still planning on purchasing for others, don’t enter your own Member ID. The system will recognize that you already have a badge and spit you back out. Instead, enter the Member ID of the person you’re purchasing for.

There’s also the matter of funds. Because you can’t split credit cards during payment, you’ll need to have all available funds for up to three badges ready to go. That could be upwards of $795 total, which for many of us, isn’t a small chunk of change. Even if everyone pays you back immediately, you need to have the funds already sitting in your bank account, so that the purchase doesn’t get rejected.

And once the purchase has been made, there has to be an understanding on both the buyer and the attendee’s part that the attendee will pay the buyer back. If someone isn’t trustworthy and doesn’t follow through, Comic-Con International isn’t going to intervene.

So only work with people that you’re willing to trust.

How do you find a badge group? Start with your friends. Friends of Comic-Con International also organizes several groups.

About Kerry Dixon

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