We mentioned this in our 150 Thoughts article but it seems to have been picked up and clarified in a number of places.
Consistent anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of people on the San Diego Comic-Con show floor this year was down. The same number of tickets had been sold, and sold out in minutes, but it seemed as if there were fewer people flocking to the aisles. This meant a reduction in the mad crushes, the ability to get from place to place improved, the show floor lines were down and publishers and comic creators were far easier to approach. People could even get into Hall H. In fact, it was a more pleasant San Diego Comic-Con for everyone – except maybe some of the sellers who seem to think overall sales were down on last year.
Some of this may have been down to the increased off-site events, both run by the show and by media companies, spelling out across San Diego like never before, drawing the paying punters away.
But word on the street is that it was actually down to the new RFID badge system where people had to tap in and tap out electronically. It ran smoothly and, in an instant, destroyed any chance of people with counterfeit badges getting in. Or for one person to get in and pass their badges back, via a friend, to get all their others friends in, one by one. The convention equivalent of sharing your HBO Go password. The new system cut that practice off at the knees.
And that is why there were fewer people through that door.
Of course, to a vendor, there's no difference between the money paid to buy something by a ticket holder and someone who got in for free. In fact the latter may have more disposable cash to spend.
So there is some disquiet about the numbers this year. But what this has done is give San Diego Comic-Con the chance to study the crowds and patterns… and next year sell more tickets without falling foul of health and safety regulations. Because now they can more accurately predict the number of folk through those doors.
Then add that D-23 is happening in Anaheim the previous weekend, July 14th-16th, drawing away some of the Disney, Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios crowd…
And it means that while it will still be impossibly oversubscribed, there may be a better chance of getting into San Diego Comic-Con 2017 from July 19th to 23rd.
Or you could become a Bleeding Cool reporter and be guaranteed access. But that's a whole other level of work…