San Diego Workforce Partnership, a local employment consultant, has released some stats on the con’s impact on local employment, concluding that convention center staffers are paid $320,000 for working during the con, which requires 100% of the staff where other cons only need 80-90%. This information was highlighted in some PR released by CCI, which I’ll quote below, but Con scholars will probably want to read the original report. Among other figures, SDWP estimates for $178 million in economic impact for the 2014 show. I believe this is the highest estimate I’ve yet heard for his metric.
SDWP’s article calls attention to the estimated $320,000 in wages Comic-Con brings to the Convention Center’s 500-member staff. In addition to those staffers, the Convention Center hires temporary employees and posts job listings prior to Comic-Con to cover needs that the regular staff cannot. These positions include engineers, laborers, electricians, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union workers, to name a few.
According to the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, Comic-Con’s 2014 show has been projected to have an impact of almost $178 million on the local economy. The actual economic impact may be larger as it has since been speculated that the factors used to calculate the figure did not take into account ancillary spending by locals, out-of-town visitors and corporations, and companies that buy advertising on buildings, lamp posts, restaurant buyouts and activations of local park space and private venues.
“Year after year, it is not lost on me the amazing number of talented people it takes to make this show happen,” said David Glanzer, spokesperson and director of marketing and public relations for Comic-Con. “In addition to Comic-Con’s thousands of invaluable volunteers and staff, local businesses and organizations hire additional workers who make sure the event and the city are represented in the best possible light. It really is a terrific collaborative effort.”
What is not measured in the workforce study is the economic benefit of worldwide media attention focused on America’s Finest City during the four days of the convention and throughout the year. “We never dreamed that our local annual convention would evolve over its forty-plus years into the worldwide celebration that it is today,” said Glanzer.
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.