The Pokémon Company has posted a message on their website today stating that the 2016 World Championships will be closed to the general public, and that attendance will be restricted even for qualified players’ guests. This change is stated to be due to space concerns.
The 2016 World Championships is an event where players who have qualified from all over the world in different events compete for the title of #1. The three events that are scheduled for 2016 are the TCG, ORAS VGC, and Pokkén Championships. This event is being held in San Francisco at the Marriott Marquis Hotel from August 19 to 21.
The event’s location and dates have been public information for many months. Dozens of players have booked flights and hotels in order to attend as spectators, only to have the rug pulled out from under them a week before the event is scheduled.
While this information was only posted today, it was hinted at last week when Aaron Zheng, a commentator for Pokémon VGC competitions, posted part of a document sent to qualified Worlds players on Twitter. This document hinted that admission would be granted to the general public, but only as a first-come-first-serve deal, as anybody wanting to attend must have an official badge granting entry. People who wanted to spectate would have to show up early to obtain a Guest badge that would permit them inside the venue. Additionally, this document states that side events, such as an open VGC tournament that was hosted last year, would be located at a separate location across the street, further hinting that there were space concerns.
However, the Pokémon Company’s new announcement clarifies that the guest badges are only available for one parent or guardian of qualified players under 18, and that it is not guaranteed anybody else will be allowed to bring guests into the venue, or that players will be allowed to bring more than one guest.
In the past years, attendance has been open to anyone who wished to spectate in person instead of following streams on The Pokémon Company’s website. Additionally, Pokémon had been distributed over local Wi-Fi–in 2014, players could get an Aegislash, and in 2015, Sharpedo was available. The fact that no Pokémon was announced to be distributed earlier also hints at the fact that the Pokémon Company was concerned about the lack of space, though there is no explanation as to why players were not warned before making travel plans.
Players are encouraged to instead watch coverage of the events at the Pokémon Company’s website, where all three events will be shown.