You won’t be catching anything at the 2016 Pokemon World Championships in San Francisco unless you’re there with permission to do so. Despite being open to the public in previous years, the 2016 gathering will be limited to invitees and guests. The Pokemon Company announced the new restrictions today, noting that underage attendees will be guaranteed only one guest badge for their family, friend, or guardian. Remaining guest badges will be issued to tournament entrants on a first-come-first-serve basis while supplies last. With only days until the convention, families of attendees are hurriedly revising their plans.
While the limited venue space was cited as a reason for the enhanced security, the 2015 Pokemon World Championship in Boston was marred by two men who brought firearms to the event and threatened other players. The men were convicted and sentenced to two years in jail for unlawful possession. While this incident is doubtless a partial influence on the new restrictions, the other likely contributor is the explosive popularity of Pokemon GO. The mobile game from Niantic has been a sensation at all recent crowd events including the Republican and Democratic national conventions.
The 2016 Pokemon World Championships will be held August 19th through the 21st at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in San Francisco.