By Sandra Kraisirideja
Another Comic-Con has come to a close and already half of the tickets for 2012 are sold out. In year’s past attendees could simply walk up to a booth in the convention center and pick up a registration form for the next year’s Comic-Con. This year, organizers moved pre-registration to the Hyatt and only sold 2,400 passes a day, which after four days would equal about 50 percent of the total tickets available. The remaining tickets will be sold online to the general public at a later date.
The pre-registration line rivaled the line for Hall H in terms of early arrivals. Word quickly got out that if you wanted a four-day pass with preview night that it was necessary to arrive by 5 a.m. if not sooner. One employee at the Hyatt claimed she did see some attendees sleeping out the night before. Another attendee said she had gotten in line at 6 a.m. and if she had been any later she would not have gotten a four day pass with preview night.
Given the demand for tickets and the fact that Comic-Con is spilling out onto the Gaslamp with more events than ever being held outside the Convention Center, organizers may have no choice but to find a bigger venue sometime down the line. It’s clear that Comic-Con has outgrown the convention center with companies like NBC, SyFy, AMD and CNET taking over restaurants to promote their shows and services.
While the Convention Center was still the main draw for attendees a few companies did their best to get folks to spend a little time with them, offering free food, drinks, giveaways and prize drawings. You would think with 100,000-plus in attendance that offerings like this would have lines around the block but not so. I spent some time in the CNET Power Station and while it was very crowded I was able to get inside without any wait.
2011 will mark the first year that Comic-Con expanded its reach beyond the Convention Center is a big way. A general manager at one Gaslamp restaurant that I spoke to predicted that the city may eventually close down parts of the Gaslamp to make more room for the crowds. It will be interesting to see if there will be a charge for people who just want to roam around the Gaslamp during Comic-Con.
Currently it’s free to take part in all of the outside activities and didn’t seem necessary to have a Comic-Con badge. This is certainly an option for anyone who is not able to secure a pass for 2012. Next year Comic-Con will take place July 12-15.