SDCC11: The Year Of Acceptance

As the dust and confetti settle from this year’s Nerd Prom, it seems like this was the year that People Came Prepared To Deal With It. Instead of complaining about the craziness, attendees, and exhibitors accepted the long waits, surging crowds and tight security. When you have an event that prompts people to sleep outside for two days, you have something that people are desperate to attend–and desperate people do desperate things. Hence the surrender to complicated procedures and lines. The only person who didn’t get it was a drunk Welshman who paid the price.

It was so the year of the offsite, with events and exhibits turning the entire Gaslamp district into a pop culture extravaganza.

The one area that seemed to draw the most disgruntlement was the pre-reg for next year, which prompted people to camp out — if you weren’t in line by 4 AM each night, your chance of getting a badge for next year was non-existent. Lots of angry sad tweets and blog posts attest to the frustration experienced by fans who waited for hours and hours

Meanwhile, on the show floor, comics sales were, depending on who you asked, fabulous or flat. A few people did gangbusters business, but the overall tone was flat sales. Big ticket items like original art moved very slowly, either because people had already spent so much to get there and had no money left or simply the bad economy.

We’ll have more on San Diego wrapping up the con in the next couple of days!

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Comments

  1. I have been reading you write for so long about how tough it is to get to this show I feel like I will be daunted from ever actually doing it. But I want to do it. I feel like it must be, on balance, pretty cool.

  2. Jake Orion says:

    I understand why they changed the pre-reg this year, as it will allow others to get a chance to buy more tickets online. My group was fortunate enough to follow my advice and arrive in the line by 5AM on Thursday morning. We were able to buy our 4 day with preview for next year.

    A attendee was walking by and counting people; we were #437-40 respectively. When we entered the Hyatt, we entered a room with additional queues. Judging by our location, I figured the room could hold up to 3000~3500 people, meaning only 12 to 14000 pre-reg passes were sold at the con this year.

    While this may seem unfair, you must remember they sold out of 4 day badges with preview night at the con last year. Honestly, my highlight of this year was obtaining a badge for next year, as it was a huge weight off my shoulders. When I put everything else into perspective (lines, crowd, etc.), I actually enjoyed the con this year.

  3. I was very lucky to get a 4-day with preview night on Thursday morning too. Glad to have it out of the way.

    I did have to complement the Hyatt as I had a great experience there this year and it was much more in keeping with other Hyatt hotels and resorts. There was such a difference this year that I had to ask if they had a management change recently and it turned out they had.

    The bar at the hyatt was not as hopping as prior years, but they were better prepared with satellite bars setup near the main bar. The bayfront hilton bar was also a bit quiet. Maybe most of the post-con bar scene ended up at trickster? May have to put that on the to-do list for next year.

  4. Chris says:

    Pre-reg wasn’t that bad. Maybe some people camped out at 4 AM Thursday, but it wasn’t necessary. After hearing a recon report from someone’s Friday pre-reg experience, we decided to get down there at 7:30 AM Saturday. They closed the line at about 7:50 and we ended up each getting four one-day passes because we were at the end of the line. Friends of ours showed up at the Hyatt 7:20 AM on Sunday morning and they got 4-day passes. Strangely, on Sunday the one-day passes sold out before the 4-day passes.

    While we were in the pre-reg line, they announced that half of the passes of each variety were being sold at the Con (distributed evenly over all 4 days) and the other half would be part of on-line sales. They also announced that they had fixed their server problems and had load tested them with three times the peak traffic they saw last year.

  5. Rupert Giles says:

    Its amazing that they are selling out every year. I know this is THE show but it seems kind of nuts. I’ve been to many shows over the years and can only assume its the Hollywood people that are drawing in all the civilians.

    Can someone tell me what percentage of the show was pure comics? (i.e. not non-comic movie panels)

    I’d hate to be dealing with such huge crowds as a result of things like True Blood or ice-fishing enthusiast panels clogging up the aisles/halls. (I would, however, wait in line to join everyone in the Buffy singalong!)

  6. @Rupert — anecdotally, I would say the floor is about 60/40 comics/non-comics if you count all the major publisher booths as ‘comics’ (I do). Outside the con (where the greatest impression on non-attendees is) it is probably more like 80/20 non-comics/comics.

    From the panels perspective it is probably 50/50 or better.

    The star power of Hall H is the largest contributor to the perception of SDCC being non-comics, but the publicity generated by Hall H is disproportionate to its size. It holds 6500 or about 5% of the total con attendees, but probably represents 70-80% of the publicity coming out of con.

  7. Rupert Giles says:

    Interesting Trev. Thanks for the info.

  8. (Is the BEAT still here on the Left Coast post-Con to avoid the NYC heat and humidity?)

    this was the year that People Came Prepared To Deal With It ?

    Funny… I learned to deal with the craziness, crowds, long waits and increased security YEARS AGO, when SDCC’s attendee population first doubled— then tripled— in size.

    Might’ve been just why I’ve managed to have a fairly decent time every year at SDCC
    despite ‘Everything BUT Comics Con’ning, the invasion by the TWIhard tribe, bad breakfast
    foods/Hall H violence or (this year) Hollywood Studios Skipping the Con. Somehow, I didn’t allow any of those things to affect my enjoyment of the event.

    (Of course your mileage— and reportage— may vary.)

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