For local attendees of San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), the Ace parking lottery is as stressful and anxiety ridden as Hotelpocalypse is for those who live out of town. Parking can mean the difference between attending the con or not for those who have disabilities or young kiddos. And of course, a closely parked vehicle is a convenient place to stash all of the amazing loot snagged on the show floor, or to take a quiet moment to unwind or eat food from home.
Over the past few years, Comic-Con’s ACE parking has fallen into a regular process. Before the lottery for 2022 was announced, attendees had no reason or hint to think that the process was going to change. While there have been issues in the past, the sorting process usually results in group spots for the majority of people who enter the lottery. Before the lottery, Ace posted to that effect: “ACE Parking will be running the same lottery process we did in years past…”
ACE, understandably, always adds caveats for a few unknown parameters, such as the amount of inventory, the number of exhibitors and staff who require parking, and (the biggest factor) the number of submissions to the lottery.
While FoCC Blog does not have stats regarding the last SDCC in 2019, at that time there were at least 4 or 5 groups. Winners of Group 2 were usually able to get underground parking if they acted quickly, while Group 3 lottery winners were often able to get the Hilton Bayfront lot.
For 2022, FoCC Blog conducted a poll of its members. The data was collected from a significant number of people who entered the lottery for parking spots. No identifying information was taken.
At 10 am Monday, June 13th, notifications started arriving to the winners of Group 1, then Groups 2, 3, and 4 in turn. After this, the ‘not selected’ emails were sent. There were a total of 634 submissions in our survey. Of those, 67, or 10.58%, were winning submissions.
|Group||Number in that Group||Percentage of submission|
These results show a much lower percentage of winners than in previous years. FoCC Blog has not performed a survey prior to 2022, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of winning entries in the past was about 25% or more. So why did the number of winners drop so precipitously in 2022?
Let’s take a look at the variables that ACE stated are in the mix when it comes to parking groups:
- Amount of inventory: It is possible that there is a reduced amount of parking for 2022, due to fewer lots available. However, this does not affect the core lots underneath the convention center or the Hilton Bayfront spots. Additionally, the reduction in lots does not seem to be a huge number.
- Number of SDCC vendors or staff: FoCC Blog has been hearing of the exhibitor parking sale creating great demand. The addition of staff parking could also cause a reduction in close parking. However, it seems unlikely that the number of spots required for these groups would be significantly different from prior years.
- Number of submissions to the lottery: This is likely the biggest reason for the reduction in winning entries. There are three possibilities as to why this might have changed. First, it is possible that someone (or several someones) submitted a very large number of entries. Second, it may be that the groups are smaller in size (i.e. fewer people allocated to each group than in prior years). Lastly, it could be that ACE is allocating an even amount of spots in each parking lot to each group, such that each group has a chance at every lot.
FoCC Blog suspects that the last possibility (lots spread out amongst each group) is unlikely, which leaves the possibilities that there were many more entries and/or fewer people per group. This will be determined as the parking group sales progress and lots sell out. If Group 3’s window opens and the convention center parking is still available, then it will be clear that the number of people in each group is smaller. Conversely, if there are a lot of ebay sales of parking passes, then it is likely that some people submitted a significant number of parking entries.
Looking back at the 2019 ACE parking sale is not as helpful as it might be, due to the disruption in the sale process. The sale opened early for everyone then crashed. There was a special sale for disaffected group winners. By the time things settled down for Group 3, Hilton BayFront, the Convention Center and the Diamond View Lots were sold out. Whether that was due to the flood gates being opened for hours before the sale or due to larger groups, is unknown. The 2022 Group 1 sale on June 20th went as planned with no major issues. Hopefully, this will be the case for the other groups as well.
Join us on the forum as FoCC Blog takes note of when lots sell out and what is available at the beginning of each sale. Let us know your thoughts on ACE and the current lottery. https://www.friendsofcc.com/forum/index.php?topic=12097.0