Oh no not again. With the San Diego Convention Center’s expansion plans spiked, and Comic-Con’s contract up in 2016, people are once again asking will Comic-Con stay in San Diego? but the question does seem to have a more perfunctory tone than last time, when negotiations dragged on for over a year and Los Angeles and Anaheim both put in very serious bids to get the show to move.
As Lori Weisberg reports, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is all about keeping Con in San Diego and trying to get local hotels to keep their prices at the 2016 level for 2017 and 2018—and many are going along, but only because pretty much everyone realizes that keeping Comic-Con in San Diego is in everyone’s best interest. Anaheim is trying to jump into the mix again, but after a few WonderCons in Anaheim, I think everyone realizes that Anaheim is not San Diego, and the show would become a very different event if it moved. And besides, WonderCon is developing into a more significant event on its own.
Mayor Faulconer even went to the CCI board meeting this weekend to let them know in person that he wants them to stay. Not only are hotel prices staying low, but the Convention Center itself is offering up a discount rent of $200,000 for the con.
While it seems everyone is acting reasonable over this—and CCI spokesman David Glanzer says even without the expansion the con can stay with more and more hotels offering up space for events— there are a few hotels who point out that July just happens to be the biggest month for tourism in San Diego County even WITHOUT Comic-Con:
Some downtown hotels, though, are reluctant to join the convention hotel block, much less cap their rates because they’re able to command some of the highest rates of the year when Comic-Con is in town. Last July, when the county’s room rates are often at their highest, the average nightly rate countywide during Comic-Con peaked at more than $250, at least $80 a night more than the highest rates during the rest of the month, according to data compiled by Smith Travel Research.
“It’s much better not being in the room block during Comic-Con,” said Thomas Goodwill, general manager of the 190-room Porto Vista hotel in Little Italy. “For us as an independent we can get a lot better rates than the bigger hotels. Comic-Con would have a lot more room for negotiation if they moved it to a month like November.”
Yes, Mr. Goodwill, yes they would. And moving Comic-Con to November is a great idea. SAID NO ONE EVER.
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.