4 SEPTEMBER 2014
Remember when San Diego Comic-Con cost $35 all those years ago? Yes, so do I. That was in the time of wandering upstairs to the Sails Pavilion and pre-registering at your leisure. The era of being deeply annoyed that you had to wait 90 whole minutes to get into Hall H on Saturday.
Times have changed and badge prices have risen every year. And they have done so once again to the outrage of many Con attendees. It's not a huge difference when comparing 2014 to 2015. But I know many of you thought prices were already outlandish - and that these new rates are a crime against nerddom.
Here is what it will set you back to buy your SDCC 2015 badge.
For regular attendee badges:
Preview Night: $35
Thursday, Friday and Saturday: $50 each
For Junior, Senior and Military badges:
Preview Night: $18
Thursday, Friday and Saturday: $25 each
Remember that if you buy Preview Night, you buy it all. So the ultimate Comic-Con badge will cost you $220.
Now I'm going to say something that may sound insensitive and economically tone-deaf. I don't have a problem with the badge prices going up a bit. We put immense demands upon CCI and the convention center. The need for increased security is just one example. Our incremental spread into other facilities is another. This past summer CCI added programming in the Horton Grand Theatre. Possibly next summer they'll be using yet another new building. They have made a point of saying they are continually looking for ways to improve the Comic-Con experience. We all want that too, right? Easier badge sales, better line management, security guards who are actually helpful?
Ultimately you can't go to the biggest and most popular Con in the world and expect prices to stay the same forever. I think $220 is an incredible bargain for a 5-day show when many people blow way more than that on tickets to a single basketball game or concert. I know that's a lot of money for some people and I do empathize - I was beyond broke my first few Cons. I remember those days clearly. But given how much Con attendance costs overall - hotels, meals, parking, events, whatever you buy on the floor - an extra $20 this year probably won't stop many people from going.
Personally I wish CCI would introduce a Fast Pass/VIP badge that was priced high enough to keep the rates low for everyone else. I would happily pay more for, say, an accelerated badge pick-up process, or some kind of special screening/swag bag/event/other incentive. I'm sure other attendees feel the same way. But I'm not crossing my fingers. For now, this is what we have.