The article title from the San Diego News Network says it all: Pow! San Diego fights other cities to keep Comic-Con; the show has a “profound” fiscal impact on the city, and behind the scenes a battle is going on to fend off offers from LA and Vegas:

Comic-Con generates $16 million in direct spending and $38 million in indirect spending for the city, said Johnson. This means that the event’s 126,000 attendees each year drop $16 million on services such as hotels, car rentals and restaurants, which has a ripple effect throughout the economy of more than double that amount.

“When you bring that kind of money into the region, it’s like a rock in a pond,” said Johnson.

San Diego’s hotel occupancy rate during Comic-Con is the highest for the county during the entire year, said Johnson. Occupancy rates for the county’s 54,000 hotel rooms average 98 percent each day during the four-day event, he said.


  1. So SD is finally acknowledging that although SDCC convention goers may not spend as much, outright, as some of those attending the other conventions, that, in sheer numbers, the economic impact of SDCC IS relevant? ;)

  2. Again, as long as the SDCC people make no move to leave, nothing will change. That’s the long and short of it, until new management replaces the people in place (not happening any day soon) or unless something major changes that makes SDCC sell out in days or minutes, not months.

    And, if the SDCC organizers really wanted to grow attendance, they wouldn’t stay in SD. But they would be out of their comfort zone in Socal, and they want none of that. Also, the organization that runs SDCC, if I’m not mistaken, is a non-profit venture that generates conservatively $9 million alone on admissions (using the simple math of taking $75 for a 5-day pass multiplied by 125,000, knowing people who buy day passes pay more), not to mention table fees and concessions.

    A non-profit venture, albeit with many moving parts that have to be paid…

    BTW, if the city won’t pony up for a new Chargers Stadium, how in the wonderful world of Disney does anybody expect them to be able to afford a convention center expansion? And, should they?

  3. The SDCC peeps have a lot of experience throwing two shows in far-away San Francisco (APE and WonderCon), so they know how to run a show outside their back yard

    Just sayin’.

  4. According to one informed source, San Diego is in such poor financial shape that it will have trouble financing any projects:

    Or consider the recent editorial in our local daily newspaper, arguing that if hoteliers want a new convention center (which could potentially add several hundred million dollars to our local economy), they should shoulder the entire construction cost. This “shouldering” is an additional hotel tax which would raise the cost of hotel stays to well above the average charged by competitor regions, likely wiping out any positive impacts from the expansion. In addition, hotel tax money currently contributes to a significant part of the General Fund, which cannot cover projected expenses for the next fiscal year without severely impacting police and fire funding. Shouldn’t any additional hotel taxes be considered to pay for these essential services?

  5. It appears that Glanzer is open to the idea of moving the con:

    “When they opened the ancillary location at the Hilton and we came up with the idea of a ‘Mom-icon,’ we thought that idea was perfect,” said Gregorian, who notes that the convention has become more family friendly every year.

    Perhaps the “Mom-icon” is a sign of things to come. The convention wants to keep expanding into other venues, given that it’s been at capacity at the San Diego Convention Center for some time. Glanzer said one option for the future is to begin hosting panels on Wednesdays (typically Comic-Con runs Thursday-Sunday).

    And there’s always the chance that Comic-Con could move to a bigger venue in a different city when its current lease runs out in 2012. Glanzer said that’s not the “ideal scenario,” but if a planned convention center expansion doesn’t go forward, it could happen.

  6. Hey Beat Babe: Not sure SF is that big a deal for the SDCCers, and it’s certainly not in a different state, whereas LV, NYC, LA and Chicago are WAY different convention sites, with their own sets of challenges and rewards.

    Again, I’m of the opinion the SDCCers won’t leave their home base until costs become so uncomfortable as to be unsupportable to continue at the convention center. That ain’t happening for a little while.

    Hey Synsidar: Watch what the SDCCers actually DO, not what they say. I’d like to think they would be forward-thinking enough to seek an alternate spot for future shows (you’d need a new venue in place two years out to make it happen), but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. If ticket demand grows to the degree that sellouts happen almost overnight, that’s when I’d expect something to change.

    Who knows? It might change before then, should SD be in the mix to host the Republican Party convention in 2012, because of the requisite time needed for security and nonsuch…

  7. Speculation about SDCC moving somewhere else was a topic in 2008, too:

    Yet as the event has exploded in popularity over the past decade, organizers have found it increasingly hard to ignore the logistical limitations presented by wrangling more than 125,000 attendees into the San Diego Convention Center, where the show is booked through 2012. From fire-code violations to body-odor issues, overcrowding is the complaint on everybody’s lips.

    “We can’t accommodate the people we need to,” laments Comic-Con marketing director David Glanzer. “(This year) we had a wait list of exhibitors in excess of 300. We sold out before the doors even opened.”

    [. . .]

    Glanzer reiterates the board’s preference is to remain in San Diego and take advantage of the convention center’s expansion plans, but he also thinks the more the fans begin to feel the squeeze, the more their tune on moving may change.

    “Two years ago, a lot of the comments we would hear on the Internet was, ‘They can’t move.’ I think that may have changed a bit now,” Glanzer admits. “I have a feeling that staying in San Diego may not be as big an issue as it once was.”

    However, Glanzer gave San Diego some time in these 2009 comments:

    “We have more people than can come because we have to cap our attendance,” says Comic-Con’s Director of Marketing David Glanzer. Glanzer says they must have more exhibition space by 2015 or the convention could be at a breaking point and find another city to host the event. “We certainly want to stay in San Diego but we’re going to be flat on income for the next couple of years and that’s daunting.”

    I doubt that I’d get enough out of the con to justify the expense, but it seems like the con would be a fun thing to attend. The “body-odor issues” could be troublesome, but I’d manage.