Friday, February 11, 2011

Ticket Leap discusses Comic-Con selling out

This past weekend we did a piece about Comic-Con selling out in one day.  (Here)  In that piece I shared comments from some of our readers about their experience, along with what we thought Comic-Con and Ticket Leap should be looking at.  A couple of days ago Ticket Leap reached out to us at POParitaville to provide us with some information.  This information has already been made public, but we know that many of you probably haven't been wanting to read it out of frustration.  So we thought we would bring you some of the highlights.

First up, a little perspective: In 2009, Comic-Con sold out in 6 months.  In 2010 it sold out in 2 months.  Last Saturday, it sold out in 7 hours.  On that day Ticket Leap says they received over 35 million total page requests, and at peak were receiving 403,000 page requests per minute.  

In regards to what exactly happened, Ticket Leap CEO, Chris Stanchak wrote:

In December, we conducted a test sale of 1,000 tickets in coordination with Comic-Con International to gauge the traffic to the platform and to work out any problems in a controlled fashion. After the test run, we made various optimizations to meet this demand level and scaled up our architecture with Amazon Web Services significantly.
The traffic we received yesterday was several orders of magnitude higher than our high end estimate. Due to the heavy strain on the system, users for all events across our system received “Over Capacity” errors. This prevented ticket buyers from buying tickets and it prevented event organizers from managing their events.
Throughout the day, we worked to adjust the scale of our infrastructure with Amazon in an effort to meet this demand. Unfortunately, we discovered a bottleneck that didn’t allow the platform to scale as needed. 

If no one at Comic-Con International saw this coming after the site previously crashed during sales (prior to Ticket Leap getting involved), one has to wonder if CCI is out of touch with the public.  Why do I say this?  Given that they already knew the record of past sales, they should have known that demand would be at this level.  (We've been saying it since last year.)

It's no secret that Comic-Con has become the destination for fans of all types to try and see what will be hot this year.  Comics, movies, TV, video games, toys, anime, zombie, vampire, vampire slayers, slayer vampires...everyone is there.  And everyone that isn't there is desperately trying to get in.  

With the quick sell out this year, many repeat visitors are now wondering what type of crowds will be there this summer.  They're also wondering if they'll ever be able to purchase passes again without any interruption. One thing is for sure, Comic-Con will never be the same again.  Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen.  (POParitaville still has no problem with Comic-Con moving to a larger venue in Las Vegas.)

You can read the full comments from Ticket Leap at the following links:

What say you?  Should Comic-Con International and Ticket Leap been aware of what was coming?  What would you like to see happen in the future?

POPped by
Jungle Jesse

Thank you to Ticket Leap for reaching out to us at POParitaville to provide information on what happened this past weekend.


  1. Honestly, CCI should have known what they were up against. I remember when you could only get your passes by faxing in your registration form, and having to try and try again because their fax line was busy. And when they first started to offer the Comic-Con rates for hotels, CC rates sold out within 24 hours, consistently. And that was around 2003.

    Considering that every year they've had increasing numbers of early registrations, and they've actually been sold out for every day's passes (when you used to be able to show up and get a ticket for Sunday, at least)... it's ridiculous.

    Not the appeal, but the lack of foresight. It's been evident here, as well as the way they've scheduled the show the last few years. Lots of great panels, but they've set it up so that popular panels (not even the movie ones) are all back to back so that nobody vacates the rooms.

    People ask me why I haven't gone in the last couple years, and that's why. CCI seems completely out of touch with the appeal- even though everyone else seems to have good ideas of who they should have been talking to about registration.

  2. People wondering what the crowds will look like this year? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they're going to look the same as last year, and the year before, and for each year that they have sold out the show, since they number of tickets sold is basically unchanged.

    I don't understand people, who have been going to the con for years and have seen its growth first-hand, who complain about not getting tickets when they should have had the foresight to buy them at the con last year.

    The con organizers are in a lose-lose situation. In previous sell out years, people would complain that they didn't know tickets were on sale and would end up missing out. So this year, the con decides to "announce" a ticket sales date (originally 11/1/10) and, shockingly enough, their servers crash. Multiply times 3 such instances and add in the fact that 4 day+ preview night sold out before the end of last year's con and you have a recipe for huge demand.

    While I agree that their decisions to postpone sales until now should have lead them to ticketmaster, all it would have accomplished is a sell out in 3 hours and not the 7 it took with Ticketleap.

    The con HAD to go forward with ticket sales; the hotels are waiting to book their rooms out, as the convention organizers have promised would happen.

    As far as setting up panels is concerned, the con is more at the mercy of the schedules of stars and the Hollywood-types. If Ryan Reynolds can only appear on a Saturday for a panel, well then that's when the Green Lantern panel happens. Studios and the Con are coordinating a large number of stars, agents, marketing people, etc and it has to all squeeze into 4 days. But I do think that in some instances certain genres should be given their own day or time slots in Hall H and get it over with so that the regular fans get a chance to see what they're there for.