The Controversy of the 2012 Comic-Con Pre-Registration

It’s been no secret how trying the ticket registration process has been for this year’s con. First it started when it was announced all Preview Night tickets for 2011 were sold to attendees last year, during pre-registration. That created a frenzy for everyone who wanted to get tickets this year, to make a mad dash to the online ticket registration back in the fall. That heightened demand, with hundreds of thousands of eager attendees to hit the system and cause it to crash on more than one occasion.

So Comic-Con International, the organizers of the convention, decided to handle the pre-registration process a little differently this year. Basically, they would offer 2012 tickets on each day of the con, allocating a certain number of each type of ticket to be available for purchase. Pre-registration would also be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, as opposed to Sails Pavilion in the Convention Center as in years’ past. CCI tried to make things fair and right with attendees by taking this approach.

Instead, they lost a little bit of goodwill among their long-time fans.

No one knew how many tickets were available on each day. Some heard 2,400. Some heard 10,000. No one had official word, and no one knew how many tickets of each type would be available. People were spreading rumors and fueling others’ anxiety. And because of that, they rushed into line on that first day of the convention to ensure they would be able to attend in 2012. By 5AM, there were nearly a thousand people in line. By 6:30AM, the line had stretched a mile and a half down the marina. The process, although controlled and well allocated with each ticket type (the exact numbers have not been announced), left a lot of fans who waited in that seemingly never-ending line locked out of the Douglas Pavilion in the Hyatt and, out of panic, forced them to camp overnight for the next day’s sales and therefore created a vicious cycle of spending a good portion of this year’s Comic-Con in lines to attend the next year’s.

Through three days of the 2012 pre-registration process, there hasn’t been much improvement in both the process or the goodwill from fans. It will be interesting to see if Sunday, the last day of the con, becomes as disastrous as the online crashes months earlier.

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