Increasingly serious about keeping what they now admit is tens of millions of dollars in revenue to local businesses, and the glamor and publicity that hosting the world’s biggest entertainment marketing event brings, local businesses are throwing in $500,000 to help pay for hotel shuttles to help the city in its bid to keep Comic-con in San Diego.
The money would come from the $23 million a year the city raises from a 2% hotel room surcharge, and be spread out over five years — provided Comic-Con decide to stay through 2015.
At the urging of the San Diego Convention Center and Mayor Jerry Sanders, the board that runs the nonprofit Tourism Marketing District agreed to budget $100,000 annually over a five-year period for Comic-Con, believing that the worldwide publicity the city gets from the pop culture extravaganza pays dividends in marketing San Diego as a tourist destination.
The financial commitment, made during a special meeting Friday, would cover 2011 and 2012, when San Diego’s contract with Comic-Con International expires, plus 2013 through 2015. It is contingent on convention organizers agreeing to stay put for the three additional years.
The con board has been meeting of late to mull competing offers from Anaheim and Los Angeles, but has yet to reach a decision on where Nerd Prom will be hosted in 2013 — and why should they hurry a decision when the longer they wait, the more the city realizes what a good thing they have and keep sweetening the pot? It’s common sense.
The city was already offering free exhibti space in hotels, a much larger hotel block, and a hotel room price cap of $300 in order to keep the con.
Local businessmen quoted in the piece couldn’t be more excited about hosting Comic-Con, despite past claims that the show was not that lucrative for local business, and other disses.
“This was more a sign of respect,” said Bill Evans, a marketing district board member and executive vice president of Evans Hotels, which owns the Lodge at Torrey Pines and the Catamaran and Bahia resort hotels.
“We know they have a lot of other options out there but this is to say, listen, we want to remain competitive, and history will show the TMD’s efforts will be the winning goal. This is not just about downtown. This convention pushes business to every submarket in the county. I think $100,000 per year is a good buy. At twice the price, it would be a good buy.”
The CCI board is expected to reach a decison in about three weeks.
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.