Oi god, I just got over my con crud from NYCC and now the rituals of SDCC are upon us! It all kicks off this SATURDAY with Comic-Con 2016 Attendee Preregistration. This is ONLY for those who attended last year and were preregistered. Even though the is a smaller pool of attendees than the egenral ticket sales_which will take place early in 2016, it is still a lottery and you are not guaranteed a ticket. ALSO: RFID (radio frequency identification) technology is here, meaning that badges can be mailed out in advance!
Starting at 8:00 AM Pacific Standard Time (PST), all eligible members may authorize their registration codes to enter the EPIC Registration waiting room. Badges will go on sale shortly after 9:00 AM PST.
This year’s badge buying process will closely resemble 2015, with one big improvement. We are excited to announce the arrival of RFID badge technology to Comic-Con 2016! RFID badges are extremely hard to duplicate, which addresses the problems we’ve had with counterfeit badging! In addition, it allows us to tie a badge to a specific person closer than before.
RFID technology also allows us to offer another exciting feature… advance fulfillment! Now we can mail you your badge in advance so you can skip those pesky registration lines onsite. No more waiting in line to get your badge when you arrive, although you’ll still want to pick up your bag, Souvenir Book and Events Guide, and lanyard at your leisure. And if the postman accidentally delivers your badge to another dimension, RFID technology allows us to turn off the missing badge and issue you a new one onsite.
There is more step by step information here.
The Unofficial SDCC blog has much more analysis:
As always, this sale does not guarantee that those who are eligible to participate walk away with a badge. For years now, the demand by those wanting to attend the pop culture behemoth has far outweighed the actual number of badges available. CCI is always hesitant to relay actual numbers, but we roughly estimate that there are around 55,000 badges up for grabs in Preregistration — which would put your odds of scoring one somewhere around 50%.
Compare that to the roughly 6% chance of getting a badge in Open Registration — the online badge sale that “should launch in early 2016” and is open to anyone and everyone provided they have signed up for a Member ID — and you begin to understand why this sale can sometimes feel like a life-or-death situation. In the world of Comic-Con badge sales, any advantage helps.
As with last year, badge prices went up slightly this year up to $245 for all four days, compared $220 last year. Still pretty darn cheap considering what you get.
I’m interested to see how the RFID tech changes the lively black market for badges. It’s been my observation that SDCC badges have always been a lot more “official” than NYCC based, even those New York adopted RFID years ago. The reason is that SDCC badges require a name and NYCC badges are just pieces of plastic. I’ve asked ReedPOP about this and gotten various answers—from it would be too long to line up to pick up badges to it’s better not to be recognized when you’re going to the bathroom by having someone read your name on your badge. I think the idea was also expressed that a badge is really like a concert ticket…entry to an event. A lot of big musical festival shave long used RFID to combat scalping and counterfeiting, and in the end, that’s the thing that it will have the biggest impact on.
On the other hand mailing badges out in advance makes it a lot easier to swap and sell, name or no. I’m sure there will be many procedures in place to thwart badge selling however, as the SDCC folks have long clamped down on this as best they can.
BTW, when you do a google image search for “sdcc badges comics beat” you get a very very repetitive series of images. I am nothing if not consistent.
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.