Comic-Con tickets sold out in seconds?

In 2011, the San Diego Comic-Con sold out in seven hours. Last year, in little over an hour. This time around, the online waiting room shut its doors within minutes.

I emerged victorious. I clicked to get in at 9 a.m. exactly, and earned the #12,994th spot in line—but only after waiting several harrowing minutes for a server response. Heather, having done likewise on her own computer, was left to wait a little longer—and was instead forwarded to the above landing page at about 9:07 a.m. I was eventually moved on to the ticket purchase page at about 9:30 a.m., and got us both sorted; in the meantime, further attempts by her to access the waiting room were to no avail.

The #comiccon tag on Twitter is a litany of despair.

Update: reports on Twitter suggest that while the waiting room system has crapped the bed, people are still getting to buy tickets if they can get in. So keep trying!


  1. Don’t you worry, all the corporate fakes who will attend for 1 hour, take photos for their boss, and leave got their badges.

    Also all the advertising drones who picked on nerds during highschool will get their badges too.

    Thanks ComicCon

  2. I’m sitting here in the waiting room, trying to figure out whether I’m going to be allowed to buy tickets or whether I’m just going to get a SORRY CHARLIE page in a second. And I clicked on it at the very moment of opening — 

        1. Every person has to show ID when they arrive and receive their personalized badges.

          Although I’ve never seen it happen, SDCC says that they may check IDs during the con, and confiscate badges from people who don’t have matching ID.

  3. I tried to get a pair of passes too. It took 8 minutes for the page to time out on me, and when I tried again I got the “waiting room full” message at 9:09am. Yay :(

  4. I doubt they sold out in seconds. I’m sure it’s jsut like every other sale. The servers crash, the queues fill up, tickets sit lost in the system for twenty minutes, everything is on sale again…

  5. And remember folks, they decided against moving the venue to a city better able to accommodate their increasing popularity – like Las Vegas, so thousands are unable to get in now at any price.

    1. Comic-con is the biggest thing (and really the only) thing in San Diego anyone outside of San Diego cares about (sorry, Chargers). I’m sure the city is giving them far more incentives to stay than Las Vegas, which can fill it’s venues easily. Comic-con isn’t about the fans, it’s about the money now.

      1. I’ll be in San Diego in September with my husband and friends, attending the hydro races on Mission Bay, and while I’m there I’ll be checking out Balboa Park and the famous zoo and aquarium (since the races are more my husband’s thing).  Compared to Las Vegas, San Diego is a paradise.  Actually, it is quite pretty.

        I was pointing out, as you have, that ‘demand’ has outstripped ‘supply’ some time ago, and every year it gets a little worse.  There are cities better set up to accommodate both the increasing number of vendors and the fans. Again, I agree with you, this is about money.  Oh, let’s just go ahead and call it ‘greed’.

        1. I’m not sure it’s exactly greed, since San Diego Comic-Con is actually a non-profit organization and there are a lot of other reasons to stay in San Diego. On the flip side if it was pure greed, they would be more incentive to sell more tickets to bring in more money.

          That said in their last negotiations SDCC pushed for the conference center to be expanded. Last fall the San Diego city seemed to follow through on their promise and approved the $520 million convention center expansion project. Only last time I read about it, the project was to be completed by 2017 and San Diego Comic-Con’s current contract expires in 2015, which will put the SDCC back in the bargaining seat.

          1. Oh, for god’s sake, did I fail to be perfectly clear, not dotting every ‘I’ and crossing every ‘T’?  Did you read where I said the organization profitted?  Can’t we just assume we’re in agreement that there are thousands of interested parties who profit from the convention, and much like lobbyists in Washington, exert considerable influence for keeping Comic Con right where it is?  CAN they sell more tickets?  What’s the limit for the building according to the fire code?  Are there any hotel rooms left within miles of the convention center (with the prices jacked up for that week)?  Parking is nearly impossible; mass transit is bogged down in the hugh jam around the center; even walking in is a major time suck.  Then there’s the problem of scoring a seat in any room with a panel discussion…

            And THIS, Matt, is why I rarely have much to say on BB anymore, beyond a humorous or ironic quip; I can be sure someone will find a reason to correct me nevertheless.

    2. Bigger is not always better.  I think anyone who has ever attended any of the huge Las Vegas conventions will tell you you hit a wall where there is just way too much of everything.

      1. I mentioned Las Vegas as an example.  There were other possibile sites.  See my response to laughingjack.

    1.  Because there are benefits to the conference itself in having the ticket price below the maximum market price, especially when demand is so high. This is exactly the same reason scalpers are terrible.

    2. I used to feel that way. But now I believe that such a method would mean tons of rich dilettantes and fewer actual fans.

      Already, lots of people will sleep 10 to a room, in an area far-removed from the con, to save money. It’s a huge expense for a lot of people to even travel to SD.

      I think they need to stop giving out so many “press” passes to anyone with a website.

  6. I remember when I was 16 I could just wander over to the convention center on a whim, pay $30 at the door, and then later meet Kevin Smith out front because back then he could just have a smoke break in public. Good times.

    The convention now is just craziness. The only reason it was fun for me is because I got to tag along with my friend on his pro pass. If I had had to pay money in the past few years, it wouldn’t have been worth it at all.

  7. I got in was number 4584 and never moved past that.  Not sure what happened.  Last year they had a 2nd sale.  Hopefully that will get me a pass.

  8. Even with the Hollywoodification and the pain of securing a pass, I still find it to be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience every year. San Diego by the bay is so much nicer than Las Vegas or Anaheim or LA that I hope it never moves.

  9. We got in to the waiting room by clicking in at 9:00:01 AM PT, had a white screen for >15 minutes, then got a “Welcome to the EPIC waiting room” screen saying we were #23436 in line. A message at the bottom said the page would refresh every 120 seconds. One hour later (after dutifully not hitting refresh because it says not to), the page NEVER refreshed and tweets from Comic-Con are saying that all four-day, four-day + preview night, and all Saturday passes are now sold out. Also, the page said it was originally “refreshed” at 10:01 PT, which means their server clocks were apparently off an hour because that was at 9:20 AM PT when it appeared. Just checked – one hour and twenty minutes later, no refreshes.

    All-in-all, it is pretty much a CF. There has to be a better way, even if it was just a lottery for 50 – 100 more tickets available for people who got screwed by their “EPIC” waiting room system. Or random staggered sales.

  10. We had similar issues with hotels for Dragon*Con. The two main host hotels sold out before this years con even ended… and the two additional main hotels sold out as soon as they went onsale. I waited for one and it sold out in minutes. I think at this point, even most of the overflows are sold out. In theory we could just get passes and go, since we live here, but it’s just so much easier to have a hotel room….  It’s kind of amazing how big D*Con is now. It just takes over downtown every year. And back in the day, it was just a tiny little gaming con. [EDIT] I don’t think the passes have ever sold out though….

    Good luck to everyone going to SD Comic-con, if you managed to get tickets.

  11. Most of the first batch of people never got a refresh when entering. 

    Then, later batches “moved up quickly” while refreshing because the javscript didn’t work correctly for those early in line, so they were “giving up their spots.” 

    That’s why, when some people refreshed manually – they got in right away; they got in during the “you have so and so time to log in to the buy page” thing. If you got stuck on a page, and didn’t refresh manually, you were just out of luck. There are hundreds, if not more, people with screenshots to prove this, and they’re all in the first 15thousand-ish. Looks like the bug got fixed at 9:01, basically. 

  12.  I likewise logged in at exactly 9:00 AM(PT). It took around 6 minutes to start loading the not so “Epic” waitng room page, which remained white for the next 2 hours. Not a single image or any type of writing ever loaded, the page just remained white and continued to load. I NEVER refreshed, as Comic Cons instructions specifically told me not to. Finally I checked the news, and and found everything was sold out. I attempted to find Comic Cons hotline number, but not having either a facebook or twitter account I was unable too. So, I finally tried refreshing the page and got the no tickets available message.
     It’s sad so many people followed the directions and ended up paying the price for it, while others got in and bought our tickets. Just like how Comic Con allows people who attended Comic Con the previous year to preregister their tickets for the following year. Therefore allowing a number of fans to have a monopoly on tickets.
     Thanks Comic Con!!!  

    1. Yeah, not getting in is one thing – disappointing, but fair. On the other hand, getting punished by following instructions by never refreshing sucks.

    2. “Just like how Comic Con allows people who attended Comic Con the previous year to preregister their tickets for the following year.”

      IIRC, for the last couple of years, even those people have had to jump on a website at a certain time (different from the time of those who had NOT attended the last con) and hope for the best.

      In the old days people at the con could preregister for the next year on-site with zero hassles– Just go to that area anytime during the con.

      Then, one year, con attendees who wanted to pre-register for the next year had to be in line at a certain time in the morning and the number of next-year’s passes sold each day was strictly capped at what must have been a low number. People who’d gotten in the outdoor line early that morning were too late for a pass when they sold out at 8:30am or whatever. By the second day of the con, people started camping overnight outdoors to be in line.

      Then they switched to the online system as it is now. Not perfect, but getting better, I hope.

  13. I got 50 tickets, and I’ll be selling them at a massive profit. Sweet! LOL, j/k, I didn’t get any, either.

  14. I get claustrophobic just reading about this. But then, I get the same feeling when the cameras pan across the crowds at a major sporting event. [shudder] We stopped attending Worldcon when it became too big and logistically complicated to treat it as a social event–it got hard to run into friends, hard to get into popular panels, hard to schlep in from a peripheral hotel, hard to take parties where conversation required shouting. Our local Minneapolis conventions operate on a scale that allows us to find our friends, go out to eat in groups of less than twenty, and even go to panels.

  15. There is still a chance when they re-sell tickets that get returned.  They did that on ebay a couple of years ago, I’m not sure if that’s the current method.

  16. I was counting beats and hit the button as soon as my atomic clock hit 9:00:00.  Got a .NET page error after 30 seconds.  Tried again from the button at 9:00:30 or so (knowing it was likely way too late for me) and after 9 minutes got a text “service unavailable”.  After going back and hitting the button, got the “waiting room has reached capacity” message.

    As someone who remembers what it was like back in the mid-90’s, in recent years I’d feel sad thinking it’d be a loss to see a San Diego tradition move to somewhere like Las Vegas, but I’m not so sure anymore.  Time for someone to start a new local San Diego Con, methinks.

  17. Both my sons (college kids) failed to get tickets. Have to cancel all arrangements. We lived in SD for 13 years and watched Comicon grow. Now it’s an overgrown CF. Not worth the stress, and any event that favors previous years attendees, is sending me the message that I’m not as good as last year’s gang. Message recieved.

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