The San Diego Union-Tribune has a well-researched look at the Comic-con from the locals viewpoint by Peter Rowe with lots of numbers, and it’s not just interesting because we’re quoted: the city and the convention have always had a rather…guarded relationship. This piece gives it a bit of perspective:
While the Con’s impact is global, it’s San Diego’s single largest convention, drawing more than 100,000 people who will rent hotel rooms, order meals and buy bagfuls of whatnots, all to the tune of $32 million. At least.
“The revenue is substantially, substantially underrated,” said Steven Johnson, the Convention Center’s vice president for public affairs. “We have yet to grasp how to get our hands around the economic impact of the convention.”
Although we know how glitzy and hectic the Con is, the city still considers it secondary to Health Information Managers:
Despite high rollers like Apatoff, the Con has an old reputation as a cheapskate confab. On paper, it’s still an economic underperformer. Compare it with the Health Information Management Systems Society, which held a convention here in February. Con-goers outnumber this group 4-to-1, but the HIMSS crowd laid out $82 million, 2½ times what Con-goers are expected to spend.
But the Convention Center vice president insists that the Con’s numbers are artificially low. Most of the HIMSS attendees are members of the society who book their hotel through their organization. Most Con attendees are – well, who knows? Again, there hasn’t been a survey in 10 years. Moreover, they’re an independent lot.