Why Comic Con\’s Wristband \’Solution\’ Makes Hall H Even Worse

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Hall H San Diego Comic Con

In an attempt to solve the Hall H problems, CCI is just making things worse.

Most people who are familiar with the San Diego Comic Con know how bad Hall H has become in the last decade. Just ten years ago, it was entirely possible for a Comic Con attendee to go down to the convention center very early in the morning of a Hall H panel, and still get in to the Hall for that day. Then, Twilight happened.

When Summit brought the Twilight movies to San Diego Comic Con, the culture that introduced completely destroyed Hall H forever. Twilight fans camped out for days just to get into Hall H and squeal at the stars, which made everyone think that is how you got into Hall H. Repeat this for several years and five movies, and that’s now the accepted “norm” for the Hall H line. The problem with this is that unless you’re willing to get in line for Thurday’s Hall H panels on Monday night, you’re likely not going to have any luck.

Where other large conventions, such as New York Comic Con, have banned overnight camp outs for their big panels; San Diego Comic Con is now encouraging them with a new wristband distribution system they are introducing this year:

Wristbands will be distributed for Hall H ONLY. These wristbands are not guaranteed entry passes. They will be used to gauge the length of the line for Hall H.

You must have a badge or badge barcode to be in line.

Wristband distribution will begin in Plaza Park as people get in line but will stop at approximately 1:00 AM, resuming again at 5:00 AM at the spot where the last wristband was given out.

You will need to have a wristband in order to enter Hall H for the first panel of the day only. If people with wristbands leave the line for the first panel of the day and more seating becomes available, the room will be filled with the first people in line who do not have wristbands.

The way this works is that to see the first panel in Hall H every day, you have to be wearing one of these wristbands. They will be distributed “as people get in line” and that means you have to be there overnight, as they specifically say they’ll be handed out until 1am (resuming at 5am). But with the knowledge of this wristband system, you’d better believe that people will snatch up every wristband well before the 1am cut-off. That means people who show up on the actual day of the panels will be out of luck as they won’t have the necessary wristband to get in.

We’ve talked about the problems with San Diego Comic Con in the past, and this wristband solution is not a way to solve the problems with Hall H. Comic Con International needs to ban people from camping out overnight like New York did. Allow lines to form at Hall H beginning at 5:00am the day of the panels, and not before. Handing out wristbands is just going to make the problem worse, and drive even more people away from returning to the Con.