As reported the other day, ticket sales for New York Comic Con started at noon on Wednesday and ended in agony for most of the aspirants, who spent hours waiting for screens to load and waiting rooms to process. While VIP, three-day and four-day tickets quickly sold out, you can still get a ticket for New York Comic Con 2015 if you don’t mind going on Thursday. Frankly it’s the least crowded day and you would probably have the best time if just seeing booths is your goal. Hurry up! These tickets will not last.
ReedPOP, NYCC’s governing body, put up a statement about the ticket sale and revealed that demand for tickets was four times what it was last year.
Let that sink in for a minute.
FOUR TIMES AS MANY PEOPLE
According to the statement, by the time tickets went on sale at 12:01 there were already more people online trying to get tickets than there were VIP, 3-Day, 4-Day and Saturday tickets combined. So, this was a lottery, essentially.
While teeth were gnashed and hair torn out, don’t give up entirely. If you are truly desperate to see the Dave & Buster’s booth at NYCC, there are still a couple of ways to get tickets.
• Attend Special Edition: NYC, where A LIMITED NUMBER tickets will be on sale. At the first SE:NYC in 2014 people made a beeline to the ticket booth and stood in line for a while. I suspect there may be camping out or line holding or whatever for this. But the upside is that you can also attend a bodacious comic-con with guests like Scott Snyder, Annie Wu, Brian Bendis and Simon Roy. Only $45 for the whole weekend. Bargain.
• There will be an event later this summer at Midtown Comics where you can purchase tickets. They’ve done this before and there was lining up and sleeping bags and what not, and expect that again. Midtown is the EXCLUSIVE retailer for NYCC tickets.
So it won’t be easy….but it will be possible. If you have courage and will. Think of it as starring in your very own aspirational Miyazaki movie.
Now, there’s another aspect of ticket sales that had people in a tizzy. As soon as tickets went on sale they were being resold on StubHub and Ebay. This is against the rules, and ReedPOP is trying to stamp it out:
• Now let’s talk about those ticket resellers – we don’t like them either! We know you see tickets available on reseller sites and we know how frustrating that is (especially if you did not get the tickets you wanted) and please know that we continue to be aggressive about doing all we can to deal with those resellers. We further limited quantities this year. We will comb through those sites and attempt to get tickets removed. We review the data of ticket purchasers and cross check names, addresses, email, credit cards and then remove and ban where we find people trying to buy tickets over the maximum allowed. In short, we are as frustrated by people selling tickets at an inflated price as you are.
There are as I write this 151 people selling 3-day passes on StubHub, with prices ranging from about $260 to $900 (yeah right.) These are regular 3-day passes and not VIP tickets which don’t seem to be on StubHub. But you can find them on Ebay, with 2 ultimate VIP tickets (is that a thing) going for $1899 OBO each.
NOW, you may be wondering, as I did, why they don’t just outright BAN sales via StubHub or Ebay? You won’t find a single San Diego Comic Con badge for sale on either service, although you will find empty badge holders from 2014 selling for $5.99. So why?
I did some digging around and was told by someone knowledgeable about the secondary ticket market that in New York State all event tickets must be available for resale. While New York used to have some of the most stringent scalping laws in the country, in 2010 they were loosened up to allow StubHub and their ilk to pretty much have free reign. So it may not even be legal to ban resale of the tickets.
One other thing about NYCC badges: they are treated very much like concert tickets (complete with RFID chips) than badges to a conference, the tradition—inherited from SF cons—that San Diego follows. Which is to say that SDCC badges have your name, or least A name, on them, and NYCC badges all look alike unless you write your name in marker or stick on a label. Although the RFID technology makes each badge as individual as a snowflake to Reed personnel or Harold Finch, they are seemingly interchangeable to the naked eye and easily interchanged.
I reached out to NYCC to get more info on the resale problem and will report on anything I learn.
In the end, this is just supply and demand. The population of the NY metro area is 17 million people or so, and a lot of them want to go to a big comic-con. With lessons learned from the horrible crowding of years past, ReedPOP has no choice but to stringently limit the number of tickets available. It’s the only safe and responsible thing to do.
If you are really desperate to get your con on, as suggested, go to Special Edition, or even Eternal Con out on Long Island on the weekend of June 13-14 Tickets are available, you can meet guests like John Romita Jr, Billy Tucci and even The Beat, and plenty of nerdlebrities, including Eric Roberts and a bunch of Power Rangers. It’ll be fun and you will have teeth and hair left afterwards.
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.