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February 7, 2011

Comic-Con International Sold Out For 2011

As mentioned here last week, Comic-Con International took another stab at offering tickets for sale over the weekend, partnered with a confident company called TicketLeap after two previous efforts and partnerships each pulled a Vinko Bogataj in trying to handle the crush of traffic for the popular summer show. The result as surveyed in a bunch of industry coverage such as this nice post at Robot 6 was that CCI rode an initially, similarly blasted-out ticket partner through a late-day sell-out of all passes to the 2011 show.

imageWhile this comes at the expense of frustrating even more fans of the show bewildered at the rush for tickets and certainly cements the popularity of a show increasingly celebrated for its tribal event status in the wider pop culture cosmos, I imagine the primary feeling is one of relief for simply having pushed through this year's primary mission of getting its tickets moved from its virtual shoebox behind the desk and into the wallets of the eventual attendees. I would guess this puts things like a ticket lottery back on the table, or other strategies, starting with a long look at the nature of the demand that the show just struggled to fulfill -- how many ticket-buyers were interested in buying the tickets to transfer or otherwise re-sell them, how many were casual "take a shot" fans as opposed to those fully devoted to going, how much extra traffic was caused by fans pursuing multiple entry points. If the interest is as legitimately immense as these ticket-buying tidal waves might suggest, I imagine it could have an effect on the entire shape of the convention. The reaction the show runners have a bit down the road is probably more important than the "seriously, what the hell was that?" look they likely have on their faces right now.

The nature of the show's ticket-buyer is an intriguing problem for a show like CCI because it's not something they can really negotiate aggressively in terms of the show they want to put on. CCI remains a good comics show even as its lost some of the ragged charm of previous years. If they repeated last year's assemblage of comics guests and exhibitors and access to industry people, I could personally go to that show forever. I never attended nor enjoyed more panels at a CCI, and I had tons of access to publishing news and commentary and an opportunity to seek out follow-up information straight from the mouths of the providers. At the same time, they can put together a show like that, but if things eventually round into 99.85 percent of CCI ticket-buyers being more interested in standing in lines to see a trailer for Avengers or whatever, or that consider going to the comics parts of the floor show the equivalent of lost time, things may get weird. That hasn't happened yet -- for the past three or four years it seems to me asking around as many exhibitors continue to do well as have fallen off and the panel attendance for the hardcore comics stuff is 2X or 3X what it was, say, 10 years ago. Still, it's something to keep an eye on.

I would also imagine this is a boost for regional shows, as potential attendees for these kinds of events that just sort of enjoy the con experience look into the many fine opportunities to do so available in cities like Seattle, Charlotte, Chicago, Toronto and San Francisco.
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink

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