While We Were Sleeping…

Well, not really sleeping. You may have noticed we’ve got a new look around here! And we’ve been recharging after a big spring and gearing up for a big summer. But that’s not to say we haven’t missed anything here on the blog in the last few weeks (although we did cover many of these things on almighty Twitter):

Gallifrey One

Gallifrey One tickets and hotels have come and gone, faster than ever. We were all over this on Twitter, but here’s the rundown for those who missed it:

Hopeful attendees crashed the ticketing site in mere seconds – about 100 lucky souls were able to purchase tickets the way the con intended, through ticket vendor Member Solutions. Everyone else was on hold until the con found a tedious solution: ask everyone to email the convention with their ticket request, then process the ticket sales in the order in which they arrived. Manually. Ouch. But over the course of two long days, the Gally team got it done.

Even with the email process, all the tickets were claimed within the first two minutes of accepting emails. With each email requesting at least two tickets (and able to ask for up to four), receiving 2400+ emails means demand for Gally tickets now far outweighs supply.

Unlike last year, however, there are no ticket transfers. This means that all tickets are now non-refundable and can’t have the name changed. They did, however, offer “guest-of” tickets, which can have the name added at pickup; the vast majority of people who purchased guest-of tickets have an idea of who will be using them, and won’t be looking to resell later. However, it’s theoretically possible that some folks who were going to attend on a guest-of ticket will inevitably have to cancel – don’t get your hopes up, but you may want to keep tabs on any mutual friends or acquaintances who are holding on to guest-of tickets.

The hotel block also sold out less than 90 seconds, but that’s not surprising – the Marriott has been filled in less than five minutes for several years now. The overflow hotel is also full, but as always, cancellations will happen. The best place to watch for cancelled room notices? The Facebook page and Facebook event.

New York Comic Con

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, another show had major ticketing issues: arguably the number two comic con in the country (number one if you believe their numbers), New York Comic Con is ReedPOP’s flagship show. But as demand rises, even the big guys have big problems with their ticket vendors.

One redditor was in the NYCC virtual queue for so long, they literally strapped in their computer and took it with them.

One redditor was in the NYCC virtual queue for so long, they literally strapped in their computer and took it with them.

ReedPOP uses ShowClix as their ticket vendor, and they’ve implemented a waiting room – which literally crashed and figuratively burned on the morning of the sale. While their ShowClix system was plagued by server timeouts, booted customers out just before completing a sale, and had wait times of several hours, ReedPOP let the sale continue – angering many fans who would rather have seen the disaster of a sale scrapped and rescheduled for a day when ShowClix could, quite frankly, get it together.

This also led to widely-reported scalping issues: while dedicated fans waited for hours in the virtual queue, scalpers were able to get in early and snatch up huge numbers of tickets. The scalped tickets were already being resold at prices of $300+ before the actual NYCC tickets were even sold out. Fortunately, ReedPOP did subsequently cancel many tickets they determined to be purchased in violation of their rules, and put those back on sale to the public this week. But as of this morning, only Thursday tickets remain.

A number of tickets were reserved for sale at Midtown Comics, and attendees at this weekend’s NYCC sister show Special Edition: NYC can also pick up NYCC tickets.

PAX Tickets

ReedPOP also handles the PAX family of shows, for which badge sales have gotten so crazy their system now involves releasing tickets at a random time with no advance announcement – and they still sell out within hours.

PAX Prime also just raised ticket prices by way of eliminating weekend badges – like San Diego, they’re now sold only as individual days. Unlike San Diego, PAX Prime previously offered a discount for buying a full weekend badge. The elimination of the discount raises the ticket price by 45%.

And no, that random sale tactic won’t change: GeekWire has a fascinating interview with Robert Khoo, President of Operations at Penny Arcade, who says the random date helps them subvert scalpers. He also nixes suggestions for a lottery or phased/batched releases, and mentions that demand for tickets outstrips supply by roughly 5-10 times.

Nerd HQ
Levi hosting a Conversation panel at Nerd HQ 2014.

Levi hosting a Conversation panel at Nerd HQ 2014.

After a challenging 2014, Nerd HQ is officially coming back to San Diego during Comic-Con next month. With Legendary Digital (Nerdist, Geek & Sundry, and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party) taking over Nerd HQ’s former space at Petco Park, Zachary Levi’s con competitor moves to the New Children’s Museum. Volunteer applications have come and gone and reportedly are more exclusive than ever.

Panel tickets (“Conversations for a Cause”) will once again be $22 and will benefit Operation Smile. IGN has partnered with Nerd HQ to host the livestream – an important partnership, since as we know from previous mentions by other con organizers, livestreams are a massive financial undertaking.

No word yet on the official Conversations schedule – they always have to wait for the Comic-Con schedule to be finalized to be able to approach guests who will be in town, and the new CCI-imposed restrictions on offsite panels will make their job even harder this year. But now that Levi has wrapped the first season of Syfy’s Geeks Who Drink trivia show, expect Nerd HQ to be full steam ahead.

On the Horizon…

In the very immediate future, we’ll be back with a regular edition of Concentrate later today. Coming up later in June, we’ll have coverage of the first LA Cosplay Con. There are also quite a few LA-area conventions with discounted tickets available right now – come back this weekend for a roundup of those discounts. It’s also time to buckle down on San Diego Comic-Con prep, so this month we’ll bring you our newest guides and how-tos for the big show. Have something in particular you’d like to see? Let us know!

Game of Bloggers

gameofbloggers6And we’re gearing up to meet you all at Crazy 4 Comic Con’s SDCC meetup event Game of Bloggers! Come visit us at this free event after Preview Night (Wednesday, July 8) at Dragon’s Den (315 10th Avenue) starting at 9pm. We’ll be there along with a whole host of other great con and geek bloggers – check on the full list of bloggers on Crazy 4 Comic Con. We’re looking forward to seeing you!


And finally…

A reminder that we’re always looking for new writers to cover cons with us. Drop us a line here!