How times change. Whereas in past years, San Diego city fathers and mothers were indifferent at best to the pop culture behemoth running through their streets, the battle for the con in 2010 seems to have permanently changed attitudes. After a protracted negotiation over where to hold the show in 2013 and beyond, Comic-Con and the city agreed to a three-year contract, running through 2015. However, perhaps fearful of another battle for the con, SD mayor Jerry Sanders has preemptively announced Comic-Con has signed a one-year extension for 2016:
City officials and the organizers of the celebration of pop culture said they agreed to a one-year extension of their current contract. Details, such as room rates at area hotels, still need to be worked out, said David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and communications.
“This plan is working right now,” Glanzer said. “If we can all continue to work together over the next few years, we should all be happy campers.”
City officials hope to start construction on an expansion of the center next year and have it open for business in 2016.
“It’s not only an enormous source of pride, it’s an enormous source of revenue for San Diego — for the city, for the hotels, for the shops and for the restaurants. The economic impact is out of this world,” Sanders said.
Comic-Con’s fiscal impact is about $180 million, according to the latest figures, a huge increase over earlier estimates of a mere $32.7 million in 2008.
2016 is also the year before when the convention center’s expansion is supposed to be finished, a deal-breaker for keeping Con in SD, although the increased usage of off-site locations seems to have made that a bit less urgent.
At any rate, San Diego’s new agenda includes keeping Comic-Con happy, and that’s a good thing.
PS: As pointed out by a local, this is also Sanders’ last go-around as mayor, as a new one will be chosen next Tuesday. Sanders endorsed Carl DeMaio, who is in favor of Con and the expansion. Democratic opponent Bob Filner hasn’t gone on the record that our preliminary Googling can find.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.