Comic-Con 2016: What You Need To Know About Buying Tickets


Although it feels like Comic-Con 2015 was just a few weeks ago, we’re actually three months clear, meaning it’s already time to start thinking about next year. The show itself ramped up the urgency by announcing that badges (what SDCC calls tickets, and it’s fitting because they are actually badges) go on sale this Saturday, November 14, at 9 am Pacific/noon Eastern.

What that means is that by Saturday afternoon, people who want to attend SDCC 2016 will either be super excited or down in the dumps. Badges sell out quickly, and as the convention itself notes, demand exceeds supply by a sizable amount.

That shouldn’t dissuade you from trying to buy tickets. Everyone with a serious interest in comics or pop culture in general should experience San Diego Comic-Con at least once, simply because there’s nothing else like it anywhere. You just can’t go into the badge-buying process blind.

There’s an excellent step-by-step walkthrough on the Comic-Con site, so there’s no reason for us to repeat that info here. What we can do is summarize the finer points of the whole shebang, especially what might be different this year.

Everyone needs a Member ID

The first and perhaps most important step is to register for a Member ID. Everyone who attends Comic-Con, from the ticket-buying public to press to professionals, has to have one.

Fortunately, getting one is quick and free. You can go here and follow the New Member ID link in the upper-left to get started, plus there’s a video tutorial to help you out if you get confused.

Preregistration starts an hour before badges go on sale

Though you can’t buy anything until 9 am Pacific, the important time to remember is actually 8 pm Pacific. That’s when you can enter your personal registration code — sent via email at least 24 hours in advance — and gain access to the Comic-Con EPIC Registration waiting room.

Once the ticket sales begin at 9 am, there’s nothing you can do but wait and be ready if/when your group gets moved to an actual registration session. If you never get picked, that’s the way it goes because …

Not everyone who preregisters is going to get a badge

It’s a bummer, but Comic-Con is already bursting at the seams with people. More people will be trying to buy tickets on Saturday than there are badges, probably by a significant margin. There are always tales of woe at this time of year, and this time won’t be any different.

You can buy up to three badges, but …

You have to know the last name and Member ID (we told you that was important!) for the other people who will be getting the other two badges.

Kids are free, but not part of the online preregistration

It might surprise you to learn that kids under 12 get into Comic-Con free with a paying adult. That’s a very cool aspect of SDCC, provided you can actually keep track of the little ones among the massive crowds.

Kids’ badges aren’t part of the online sale, though. You need to register them onsite at the show itself.

Four-day badges are purchased by buying individual badges for all four days

Comic-Con does have four-day badges good for the entire show. You won’t find them as an option during the pre-registration process; you simply buy a badge for each individual day and it automatically gets converted to a four-day badge.

Ticket prices for 2016 are:

  • Thursday: $55
  • Friday: $55
  • Saturday: $55
  • Sunday: $40

Unless my math is very bad, that means the cost of a four-day badge is $205 for SDCC 2016. You can also purchase a badge for Preview Night (which takes place on Wednesday) for $40, but only if you’ve purchased a badge for at least one full day.

Badges are being mailed out this year

In a change from shows past, attendee badges will be mailed out. That’s because they are incorporating RFID technology for the first time, allowing people to skip the onsite registration part of getting into the show.

That’s a welcome change. It also means that the badges are being sent to the buyer’s address only. So if you’re buying badges for friends on Saturday, you’ll need to meet up in person at some point to distribute them once they arrive.

Again, anything else you may need to know can be found on the Toucan Blog. Best of luck to everyone!