For years people have been saying “Why doesn’t San Diego Clear Hall H between panels so people won’t camp out all night and sit in the room all day just to see a panel at 7 and stink up the joint?” The CCI folks have considered this, but rejected the idea, as David Glanzer explained when I interviewed him for the More To Come podcast a few months back. One of the main reasons was that they didn’t know where to line people up.
NYCC’s Main Stage (Formerly the IGN Theater) isn’t as big as Hall H — it seats about 3000 people to Hall H’s 6000, so lining them up isn’t quite as hard —but getting in is just harder since it’s smaller. So this year, finally, NYCC is doing the unthinkable and will institue room clearing and wristbands. You can read the whole policy here but it runs to more than 1000 words, so here’s the outline:
- View the signs right inside Queue Hall to see which Panels have reached maximum capacity and which still have space available
- Head to the back left of the Queue Hall to line up in the chute for the specific Panel you want to see
- Wait in line until Security puts a Panel-specific wristband on you
- Do not leave the line until you have a wristband on your wrist
- If you leave the line after getting your wristband, arrive at least 35 minutes prior to the Panel start time
- Make sure your wristband is on your wrist and visible
- Head into the same chute for that Panel and wait until you are let in
This process applies to these Badge types: Special Access VIP, 4-Day, 3-Day, Single Day, Premium Exhibitor, Exhibitor, Artist Alley Exhibitor, Press, Speaker, Guest, Professional, off-duty Crew and Medical.
NYCC will only be clearing the Main Stage. No other Panel rooms will be cleared.
IN case you missed that, press, pros and Special Access VIPs must all adhere to this policy. No ins and outs. There are only five panels a day on the Main Stage so there will be five chutes. ReedPOP clears panels at Star Wars Celebration, so they have done this before and know how it works. I only found one anxious post about this, anxious because it sounds like you might just sit in a line all day instead of all night, but according to the wristband plan, once you get one you can go on your merry way. The RFID technology of the badges can also be used.
The Unofficial SDCC Blog also wrote about the new system:
Depending on your own desires for the convention, this could be a great system, or a terrible one. For someone who wants to sit up front and be close to the stage, getting a wristband and leaving the line as New York Comic Con seems to hope will happen would mean potentially giving up that great spot, and isn’t likely to happen. That person could be overjoyed not to be fighting with fans of various other things for better seats, or they could be annoyed that instead of sitting through other panels, they’ll be in line all day.
For someone towards the back of the line who is just happy to make it in, knowing they have access and being able to spend the rest of the day enjoying the rest of the con could be a much better experience than sitting in line or through panels they don’t care about.
Basically, as with all things in life, New York Comic Con is never going to make everyone happy. But will this new system make more people happy?
Predictably, the half of the people who are always moaning to clear the room may like this, and the other half won’t like standing in line ALL DAY and missing everything else at the show. NYCC attendees don’t quite seem to be as bugf•ck about getting into the Main Stage are Comic-connies are about Hall H—it just doesn’t have the mystique. Also, New Yorkers are just used to lining up for EVERYTHING.
Still, this will be interesting. Be careful what you wish for. I’ve long suspected that room clearing is the way of the future, and the future may ne now.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.