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Unread 05-28-2016, 02:29 PM   #1
josplay
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Convention Attendance Costs

Of all but one of the conventions that I've been to, they sold tickets so you could get into panels and the dealer's room and such. But just to walk around the general con floor/lobby you didn't have to pay anything, anyone could just walk in and hang out. (All but one con, which was a one day thing and it cost $3.)

I live in Florida. Is this the case for most cons everywhere else, at least in the U.S.?
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Unread 05-28-2016, 02:34 PM   #2
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For the cons I go to it depends on the con. The Seattle one I go to, it'll illegal for the con to make you pay to be on the first floor of the Washington state convention cente, or outside where most people are. So if you were only in those areas, they can't tell you to leave unless your are causing trouble. The other cons I go to, one moved now but they were both in hotels. Which, they can't force you to pay if you're in the lobby because non convention people still have to be able to use the hotel. So you don't have to pay until you get to the areas where con stuff is happening.
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Unread 05-28-2016, 03:24 PM   #3
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Most of the cons I've been to have been in a semi-public facility with parts that were only being used for convention events. A hallway of panel rooms, a ballroom with vendors, a wing of a convention center, and so on. Those areas had badge check at points of entry, and the rest of the facility and surrounding grounds were open. A lot of the area that still looked and felt like part of the con did not require a badge.

One major exception: if a convention center is fully and exclusively occupied by a convention, there's often a badge required to enter the convention center at all. Example: San Diego Comic Con. But even then, the grounds and nearby facilities didn't require one.

Enjoying the con without buying a badge is something I used to hear called "ghosting". (Borrowing a badge is also ghosting, but more importantly it's fraud, so don't.) Ghosting costs a con money, since they're still on the hook for facility costs while getting no money from you.

Is that a bad thing? Usually. If you're horked off at a con's administration, though, it's great!
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Unread 05-28-2016, 04:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangochutney View Post
Most of the cons I've been to have been in a semi-public facility with parts that were only being used for convention events. A hallway of panel rooms, a ballroom with vendors, a wing of a convention center, and so on. Those areas had badge check at points of entry, and the rest of the facility and surrounding grounds were open. A lot of the area that still looked and felt like part of the con did not require a badge.

One major exception: if a convention center is fully and exclusively occupied by a convention, there's often a badge required to enter the convention center at all. Example: San Diego Comic Con. But even then, the grounds and nearby facilities didn't require one.

Enjoying the con without buying a badge is something I used to hear called "ghosting". (Borrowing a badge is also ghosting, but more importantly it's fraud, so don't.) Ghosting costs a con money, since they're still on the hook for facility costs while getting no money from you.

Is that a bad thing? Usually. If you're horked off at a con's administration, though, it's great!
Hm, interesting. I feel like they would be more strict if it was that big a deal.
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Unread 05-28-2016, 05:49 PM   #5
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The only one I went to that required a badge to get in was also a one day thing and was free. But it was run by an anime club in a school so they needed to show the attendance in order to get funding to hold the con.
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Unread 05-28-2016, 06:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by josplay View Post
Hm, interesting. I feel like they would be more strict if it was that big a deal.
It's not a big deal per se, the costs for a con are mostly pre-established and use of the facility, damage insurance, utilities, etc is part of the contracted fee.

The costing money part is where the con estimates (X) paying attendees in order to pay the fee and gets (X-ghosts) of attendees who actually pay. When a con is sold out, this isn't even a factor because (X) is the number of paying guests. Usually sold-out is comfortably above that number. When it's not sold out people ghosting IS a factor, just a little bit per person.
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Unread 05-28-2016, 07:52 PM   #7
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Most bigger cons tend to cost $40-60 for a weekend ticket. Sometimes these cons will do one day badges, but it really depends.

Ex, PAX East had over 70,000+ attendees and was $105 for all 3 days, but that one's a little weird, because you A-- get a TON of free swag with your badge purchase and B-- it's a con with a proper developer show floor as opposed to a merchant's hall (it's a games con). Otakon (30,000-35,000 people) is on the expensive end of anime cons and it's like $90 for the weekend.

Other "big" cons (Katsucon, Anime Boston) are ~15,000 and ~27,000 respectively, though it's hard to tell with Katsu because 15K doesn't accommodate for people who "ghost" it, and at that con people certainly do. Katsu badges are $40 (I think?) if you pre-reg early enough and are more like $60 at the door, and Anime Boston is pretty similar. That being said, Katsucon is also held in a 4-star resort in DC, so that might explain why the cost is similar. I also want to say that MAGfest and Colossalcon are also in that same range, maybe a little towards the lower end.

TL;DR big cons can be pricey but small cons (as talked about above) can be really fun and definitely cost less!
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Unread 05-28-2016, 11:19 PM   #8
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I only have gone to my city's con and it's a 4 day con that sees over 100k people through the doors for the entire weekend with tickets this year being roughly $100 for the weekend (~$30-$40 at the door Thursday/Friday, no at the door tickets Saturday/Sunday). Like others, the outside area is a public space (Stampede Grounds) but you need tickets to get into any doors. They are super strict as it is a fire code issue, and several years ago (when it exploded in popularity and the organizers didn't anticipate it) they oversold (selling online and at the door) and the fire marshalls started turning people away even if they had a ticket. There were some people who would go outside for a smoke and not be allowed back in.
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Unread Yesterday, 03:12 AM   #9
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I only have gone to my city's con and it's a 4 day con that sees over 100k people through the doors for the entire weekend with tickets this year being roughly $100 for the weekend (~$30-$40 at the door Thursday/Friday, no at the door tickets Saturday/Sunday). Like others, the outside area is a public space (Stampede Grounds) but you need tickets to get into any doors. They are super strict as it is a fire code issue, and several years ago (when it exploded in popularity and the organizers didn't anticipate it) they oversold (selling online and at the door) and the fire marshalls started turning people away even if they had a ticket. There were some people who would go outside for a smoke and not be allowed back in.
So they kinda do a red rope thing mainly because it's a safety hazard?
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Unread Yesterday, 05:34 AM   #10
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^ Yep. That's a mistake on the con's part though for overselling tickets.
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Unread Yesterday, 07:37 AM   #11
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Is this about the Metrocon thing?
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Unread Yesterday, 08:33 AM   #12
josplay
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^ Yep. That's a mistake on the con's part though for overselling tickets.
Yup, alright that makes sense.
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Unread Yesterday, 08:35 AM   #13
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Is this about the Metrocon thing?
Actually Megacon, which is going on this weekend. I heard that with Metro they were closing off the dealer's room and artist's alley, but the lobby is remaining open. With Megacon though this year they are closing off the entirety of the event unless you buy a ticket.
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Unread Yesterday, 11:11 AM   #14
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^ Yep. That's a mistake on the con's part though for overselling tickets.
Oh totally their fault, a LOT of complaining and bad press that year. They were also insanely bad at crowd control and flow, it really would have been a disaster if there had been an emergency.

Luckily, they seem to have learned their lesson and every year since has been extremely well run. They refused any at the door ticket sales until this year as previous years the online tickets sold out before March (for an end of April con).
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Unread Yesterday, 01:27 PM   #15
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Yup, that was the 2012 Calgary Comic Expo growing pains event! My wife & I were randomly in the area and thought we might drop in, but were warned away by volunteers at the C-train station that the venue was oversold and no one could get in. I heard from friends that were there that it was wall-to-wall people inside, and really hard to move. They haven't sold tickets at the door since that year.

This year they did temporarily block access into the main building for under an hour because that one section was over capacity; it balanced itself out shortly, but otherwise it seemed to go well. Glad I wasn't let inside strangely enough, I wouldn't have been able to move around!

Hey now..! Your Thor photo shoot was done just outside Banff; are you a Banffite as well?
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