Last year, Phoenix Comicon’s autumn Fan Fest introduced paid, guaranteed seating for big, in-demand panels. It was a move that many saw as testing the waters for rolling out the practice at its main event over Memorial Day weekend — and that prediction has indeed come to pass.
“We’re anticipating record interest for Dick Van Dyle’s panel,” reads an email that followed last week’s guest announcement of the Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang star. “To manage and facilitate the unexpected attendee turnout, we are offering two ways to obtain a seat.”
One: Pay extra. Staring 10 a.m. Pacific on Thursday, a limited number of passes for the Van Dyke panel will be for sale (until Thursday, May 18th at 12 p.m., PT or until they sell out. On-site sales will NOT be available.”
Two: A lottery system, taking registration from now until noon Pacific on May 18, with the lottery being held at 4 p.m. that day. This is free — but you have to have a Saturday Phoenix Comicon badge to attend, of course. Winners of the lottery will get the remaining seats (whatever’s left after the paid block). So you’d better … step in time. But watch out for that Ottoman.
To make sure only paying or lottery-lucky panel viewers can see Van Dyke, the Phoenix Convention Center venue — 301BCD — will be completely cleared before seating is made available.
UPDATE — It’s not just Dick Van Dyke: Phoenix Comicon says there will be a limited number of paid seats for all panels in that room as well as 301A, but only the only clearing of the rooms between panel sessions will be before the Dick Van Dyke panel. So, it looks like no lottery except for that one; all other seating will be first-come, first served.
What do you think of this reserved seating development? One thing’s for sure: We’re sure to see it used again and again at Phoenix Comicon and other events.
Graphics: Phoenix Comicon