Yesterday morning, outside of legendary Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that the San Diego Comic-Con will be staying in the city through 2021. The San Diego mayor was accompanied by Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi, Convention Center CEO Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, Comic-Con International’s Chief Communications and Strategy Officer David Glanzer and others as he broke the news in a press conference. He thanked Glanzer and his group for coming to this agreement, as well as reminding the collected press of Comic-Con’s importance for San Diego. “San Diego has always been the proud home of Comic-Con and we are extremely pleased that we can carry on that tradition of being the destination for the world’s premier celebration of the popular arts,” said Mayor Faulconer. “San Diegans can be excited to know that Comic-Con will continue to pump millions of dollars into our economy to support local jobs, street repair and neighborhood services.”
Three-years longer than the originally slated 2018 date, this news comes as both a cause for celebration and a source of prolonged aggravation for fans and convention goers. As the mayor of San Diego went on further to say, “It is more important than ever that we continue to push the [expansion on] the convention center so we can ensure Comic-Con and other large conventions continue to stay in San Diego for years to come.” It has been common knowledge for a great while that Comic-Con International has outgrown the confines of the San Diego Convention Center, pushing big names such as Nintendo and Marvel to use banquet space in the surrounding hotels. Not only that, but Comic-Con must turn away droves of potential vendors, as they don’t have the space to accommodate them either.
The “simple” solution of expanding the Convention Center has been in talks for many years now, ranging from the logistics of the expansion, to lawsuits, and to how it will be paid for. One example of such expansion struggles is when ballot measures in November of last year calling for increased hotel taxes to fund the expansion failed to pass. There seems to be no end in sight yet to the struggle.
With the difficulties of reaching a convention solution, Comic-Con International has opened their minds to the idea of moving to other cities. Hearkening back to a small press gathering of this last April’s Anaheim Wondercon, CCI’s David Glanzer said that, “Home base is San Diego, but that doesn’t lock us in… An expansion [of the Convention Center] for just Comic-Con doesn’t seem plausible.” Cities such as Anaheim and Los Angeles have thrown their hats into the ring, trying to lure Comic-Con their way. Due to scheduling conflict last year, Wondercon had to temporarily relocate to Los Angeles, away from the Anaheim Convention Center which played host for the three previous years. As Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a press conference at the start of that convention: “L.A. was the hub of creativity and deserved such an event as this.” Most likely, Mayor Garcetti was using Wondercon as a proving point that they can handle Comic-Con in the future.
For now, the new 2021 date gives more time for San Diegans to enjoy everything that the convention brings to the city, as well as gives more time for city officials to hopefully figure out a viable solution surrounding the Convention Center and its expansion. As for us Comic-Con fans, it’s not hard to feel however that the extension is more like a reprieve from a scheduled execution.