The San Diego Comic-Con, usually referred to simply as Comic-Con, is the largest and most popular comic convention in the United States. Due to this popularity, it is extremely difficult to get tickets (referred to as badges) for this annual July exhibit. It is estimated that of the 130,000 Comic-Con badges issued each year, only about 78,000 are actually available for sale to the general public—with some 900,000 comic book fans and pop culture nerds waiting to get theirs.
While a less than 10% chance of scoring a badge may feel disheartening to fans looking to attend Comic-Con for the first time, all is not lost. If you understand how badges are issued and follow the specific steps listed for getting your Comic-Con badge, you can significantly improve your odds and make getting a badge more than just a shot in the dark.
To prevent scalping, Comic-Con allows only one badge purchase per person. To help enforce this policy, all badges are verified with a barcode that links to an associated Comic-Con Member account.
You can register for an account by following this link. Once you have successfully registered and created a Comic-Con Member ID, you will receive important email updates on when badges will be released for sale, as well as instructions for how to purchase a badge for your account.
After an account has been created, it is good for subsequent years, and you will not have to create a new account each year to get into the Comic-Con ticket lottery. However, if this is your first time trying to get your Comic-Con badge, there are a few points to keep in mind when creating a member ID:
- You must register with a long-term email address. Comic-Con’s system will detect recently created email addresses and mark them as suspicious.
- When registering, you will be required to provide basic personal information, such as name, age, and address.
- You must confirm your account via email within 48 hours of creating a member ID.
- Registering for an account does not affect your chances of being able to purchase a badge.
- The registration portal will be temporarily suspended just before and during the sale of badges. Therefore, it is critical to register for an account well before the expected badge sale date.
There are several different types of badges available for Comic-Con. The release date will be staggered, and prices will vary depending on the type of badge. The categories include:
- Pre-Registration/Returning Registration – this is the first sale announced for the general public. You can only purchase during this block if you have a badge from the previous year.
- Open Registration – after several weeks of returning registration, open registration commences. This is the most competitive purchase window, as it is the time when all of the people who have never been to Comic-Con scramble to get their badges.
- Professional Registration – if you work in the comic industry, you may qualify for a professional creator badge. However, these are difficult to obtain, and the application process begins over a year in advance of the Comic-Con you wish to attend.
- Press Badge – it is possible that you could qualify for a press badge. Like with a creator’s badge, these are hard to come by, with fewer and fewer badges issued each year.
Single-day passes have typically sold between $50 and $70, so if you are lucky enough to get all four days, you can expect to pay over $200. One thing to keep in mind: prices typically go up each year, and since the last two in-person Comic-Cons have been canceled due to COVID concerns, Comic-Con 2022 may be significantly more pricey than years past.
Once you have your Comic-Con member ID and know which type of badge you are going to shoot for, it really becomes a waiting game. To be in the best position to score, pay close attention to the email you registered your account with and SDCC’s social media pages, as they will send out updates on when ticket purchases will become available.
The last step to securing your Comic-Con badge is making sure you have all of your ducks in a row when the sale opens.
- Be sure to test your computer and Internet connection hours in advance of the sale to be sure that you do not encounter any technical difficulties in the heat of the moment.
- Join the waiting room early. Comic-Con opens a waiting room an hour before the sale and then sorts members into groups to make purchases. Don’t wait until the last second to join the waiting room, as badges will sell out in a matter of minutes.
- Finally, jump at any opportunity to make a purchase, even if it is not on the day(s) you had envisioned. There really is no such thing as a bad experience at Comic-Con, so even if you miss out on Friday and Saturday passes, go ahead and grab a Thursday or Sunday if they are offered. There are plenty of fans and merchants outside of the Convention Center who will make the experience in San Diego extremely worthwhile.
Comic-Con is the largest convention for comic books, art, and pop culture in the United States. Held in San Diego every July, it is estimated that less than 10% of the nearly 1,000,000 desirous customers can get a badge to this popular event.
While there is never any guarantee that you can score a Comic-Con ticket on any given year, being set with a Comic-Con Member ID, knowing the type of badge you are after, paying attention to important release dates on social media and email, and having a coordinated set-up the day of the sale can greatly improve your chances for success.