If you’re a pop culture fan you’ve probably heard of San Diego Comic-Con, more commonly referred to as simply ‘Comic-Con’ or ‘SDCC’. Every July it becomes a hub of movie, TV, comic and gaming news as studios both big and small converge on California to promote all things pop culture. If you’ve found yourself staring at your social media feed in envy every July — your time to shine is approaching. Comic-Con tickets go on sale this weekend and we’re going to help you get them.
When and where is Comic-Con 2023?
As mentioned, Comic-Con International takes place in San Diego each year at the San Diego Convention Centre in the Gaslamp district. In 2023 it will take place over four days from July 20-23, with preview night happening on July 19.
I know what you’re thinking, that’s a bit of a trek for us down here in Australia. But the truth is that lots of Australians actually do make the trip to San Diego for Comic-Con. I know this because I am one of them and have run into a few fellow Aussies on my travels there. It’s more common than you’d think.
And let me tell you, booking flights to San Diego isn’t the hardest part about Comic-Con. Getting the tickets in the first place is.
How much are the tickets?
Comic-Con tickets, or badges as they’re referred to, are purchased individually for each of the four days of the convention.
In the ticket-buying process, you’ll have a choice of selecting all available days, or if certain ones are sold out you can purchase individual days you’d like to attend. If you want to attend Preview Night, which gives you access to the convention floor on the Wednesday night prior, you can only do so when purchasing a four-day badge.
Ticket prices generally go up each year and are listed in US dollars. Here’s how much they cost in 2023:
It’s not a cheap ticket when doing the conversion and it rounds out to be about $550 AUD for the whole convention, including taxes and fees.
How do you get Comic-Con tickets?
The popularity of Comic-Con has absolutely exploded over the past couple of decades. Attendance went from 50,000 in the early 2000s to consistently hitting over 135,000 attendees. And it always, always, sells out. It’s like a Taylor Swift concert for pop culture nerds.
The process for getting Comic-Con badges is pretty complex. Let’s break it down.
You’ll want to start by creating a free Comic-Con account, which will give you a Member ID (this is important so remember it).
The Open Registration sale for Comic-Con, which is open for any members of the general public who have a Member ID, is taking place on Sunday, November 6 at 3:00 am AEDT.
Yeah, it’s not the friendliest of time zones but, again, these are the sacrifices we must make.
After signing up for a Member ID, if eligible, you’ll be sent an email about the Open Registration process, with a link to the waiting room. Check your junk if you don’t see it prior to the sale.
The waiting room for the sale will open at 2:00 am AEDT on November 6. You don’t need to be there an hour early, but you do need to be in the waiting room prior to 3:00 am to be processed.
Once the sale begins it’s a game of patience and sheer luck. Everyone in the waiting room is sorted into a randomized virtual queue and progressively allocated time to purchase badges. It really is the luck of the draw at this point, so may the force be with you.
While in the queue you’ll be given a queue ID at the bottom of our browser. This is unique to you (so don’t share it) and will help you get back into the waiting room if your browser crashes or refreshes.
If you’re selected to purchase a badge you’ll be taken to a purchase page where you can add the days that are still available to your cart. You’ll have the option to purchase for up to 3 people with Member IDs, including yourself. If you’re part of a buying group make sure to have the Member IDs and names (first and last) of the people you are buying for, and allocate extra money on your card for their tickets.
People are moved through to the queue until all days are sold out. It’s a frustrating and often stressful process, but well worth it if you manage to purchase those golden tickets.
Insider ticketing tips
I have seen my fair share of Comic-Con ticket registrations so, please allow me to share some insider tips that helped me get where I am.
- Join a buying group: Statistically, the more friends you have participating in the sale, the more likely it is at least one of you will be selected to purchase a badge and can buy tickets for the rest of you. More often than not when I’ve purchased Comic-Con tickets it’s been thanks to someone in my group getting through the queue. This is hands down the best way to give yourself a better chance of tickets. Just make sure you only work with people you trust. One credit card will be charged at the end of the sale, regardless of how many people you’re buying for, so it’s on you to make sure they pay you back.
- Use different browsers or different devices: If you have multiple Member ID accounts trying to purchase tickets (ie. a family or household) make sure to use a different device or log into your accounts in different browsers. Using the same browser with multiple tabs logged in can cause technical difficulties.
- Don’t share your Queue ID: When you’ve entered the waiting room you’ll be given a personalised Queue ID which appears in your URL and at the bottom of your browser. Do not screenshot, copy or share this number. It’s linked to your account and someone else can use it to take your place in line if you share it.
- When in doubt, go to the blog: The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog is the MVP of SDCC. While I may be writing an article on how to get tickets, it’s the Unofficial Blog that taught me everything I know. They have detailed ticket-buying guides with visuals, and answers to all FAQ’s over there, so definitely have a browse through if you’re confused about anything. If you end up attending SDCC, the blog collates all the info you need about panels, autograph schedules and exclusives, so it is definitely one site to bookmark for all your SDCC endeavours.
Comic-Con badge buying is really the luck of the draw. There are always hundreds of thousands (if not millions) more people trying to buy a ticket than there are badges to go around. Some years the Comic-Con gods will smile upon you, others they will not.
As Australians, the odds are already stacked against us with the time zones, conversion fees and sheer distance to travel. But if there’s one pop culture expo to be at, it’s this one.
Best of luck and, hopefully, I’ll see you there in 2023!
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