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May 5, 2010

CCI Raises Additional Exhibitor Badges From $75 to $200; Hopes To Curtail Abuses Of That Badge Class

As San Diego's Comic-Con International negotiates the future of the show through a tricky 2014 and beyond by engaging multiple suitors, an intermittent undercurrent of resentment towards the show's success continues to flash to the surface. This time it brings with it news of an actual policy change. This post at the popular blog Cartoon Brew blasts Comic-Con for what it deems an "obscene" exhibitor badge price increase from $75 to $200. With profits at such a show running on razor thin margins, Amid Amidi argues that this will price several longtime exhibitors right out of the show. He further criticizes the show for raising prices as a non-profit organization. He cites a series of posts by Kazu Kibuishi as evidence this may act a severe disincentive.

imageDavid Glanzer of Comic-Con told CR that their reasons for making the move involved a number of factors. First, the convention believes there are signs that the exhibitor badges are being used as an end-around on other forms of registration. "Because of space limitations we have not really experienced an increase of exhibitor companies from year to year. However, the number of additional exhibitor badge requests (that is to say the number of badges on top of what exhibitors are already allotted) have increased very, very dramatically and continue to do so," he said. "As a result we are seeing more and more individuals and groups on the exhibit floor prior to the floor opening who don't seem to be attached to a particular booth and are, instead, roaming or browsing the exhibits." Glanzer notes the convention staff has also noticed an increase in exhibitor badges being sold at online auction sites.

With that in mind, Glanzer indicated the con raised prices for additional badges to discourage these abuses. "The increase in price was done with an attempt to discourage exhibitors from purchasing additional badges that they may not actually need."

Glanzer also pointed to two factors involved with the prices going up. One is that attendee badges are being made available to exhibitors who want to purchase them for staff at a $100 price. The second is that if they curtail the abuse of exhibitor badges, they'll lose money in the short run due to fewer being purchased but hope to gain in the number of general attendee badges.

One thing for sure, the days where you could go bother Rory Root for a couple of extra badges to lend to your friends from college so they can come in and see you sit on a panel are over. In more ways than one.
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink

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