Has the San Diego Comic-Con been flirting with other cites?


But, it’s not so much a case of SDCC having roving eyes as other, dashing convention centers becoming entranced with her sparkling banners and porcelain attendance figures, according to this piece by Helen Kaiao Chang.Some of these other convention centers have become quite bold with their advances.

Managers from the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau (LACVB), Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau (AOCVCB) and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) all confirmed they have been actively pursuing Comic-Con International’s organizers to possibly relocate to their cities.

“There’s no question that we have pursued that business,” said Michael Krouse, senior vice president sales at LACVB. “We would just be foolish not to. It’s a perfect piece of business for us.”

Of the three suitors, Anaheim is a solid family man, sensible, stable…maybe just looking to bring a little more excitement to his life. Or to put it another way, the Anaheim Convention Center holds only 90,000 people so forget that.

The Las Vegas CVA is a high roller, a big man with big plans. San Diego would fit right in with his stable of fancy showgirls and glitzy singers. But…it’s not like they’re going to get married or anything. Or, as a spokesperson put it, “There has been no formal development.”

And then there’s LA. Always so near…watching, dreaming. Wondering what it would be like. Yes, if any other city can be said to be ardently wooing San Diego, it is LA. They have someone on the case year round. And Krouse gets a little gleam in his eye, a little quickness in his step, when he thinks of what could be.

“We have never stopped pursuing them,” Krouse said.

This article is a must-read just for this chart, which lays out how much, how big and how many. Wait until you see how much LA would charge Comic-Con to rent the space! And like any good divorce case, there are dates and times of meetings. It’s all there.

San Diego Convention Center, don’t let your woman get away! You need to pay attention to her needs! Take her to a nice dinner, get a bottle of good Bordeaux, buy her some flowers and some extra security for road crossings. Other men are looking at her….and they mean business.


  1. Interesting stuff! The pricing on the different con centers is an aspect that I hadn’t heard mentioned before.

    My personal thought (which I’m sure no one from the con cares about in the least!) is that a move to Anaheim or LA would drive me away from the convention as quickly as anything they could do. After all, half the charm of SDCC – maybe more than half – has always been the “SD” part. However, I’d be more than willing to give Vegas a try. That’s a fun town!

  2. $1000, huh? That’s a pretty big piece of bait to dangle out there. What’s the going rate for a room in the L.A. Live “zone”?

  3. Don’t let the lovely stock photo above fool anyone. I annually exhibit in trade Show for 4 days at the LA Con Center. NOBODY wants to go to downtown LA. I stay near LAX or in Marina Del Rey — and rent a car to travel back and forth.

    SD and downtown LA = apples and oranges.

  4. I live about 15 minutes from the Anaheim convention center in good traffic, so if they moved it to Anaheim, I could commute easily. Heck, I could take the bus if I had to.

    Despite that advantage, I don’t think Anaheim would be a good fit. Aside from the lower capacity at the convention center itself, there’s the hotel situation. Sure, they might have the same number of hotel rooms on paper…but they’d have to share those hotels with people visiting Disneyland at the height of tourist season. I’m not sure how many of those rooms would really be available to the con.

  5. The Los Angeles convention centre’s location is an urban wasteland. Moving there would lose a huge portion of the CCI attendees who are used to the San Diego centre’s prime location and convenience.


    Whatever they do, DONT move SDCC to LV! I did a show there once, nice and well run, but all of the attendees lose their money gambling in the lobby of the convention center, and come inside going ‘gee, I wish I had some dough to buy some comical books!” And not LA either, one of the points is it gives all the LA people a chance to escape for a long weekend, but is conveniently nearby too. Anaheim, maybe, but why? Keep things exactly how they are, or suffer my wrath (which mostly involves poking with a sharp spoon).

  7. To be fair, the LA Convention Center is in an urban wasteland that they’re rapidly trying to Disneyfy(tm). Remember that the gaslamp in the 80s and early 90s was only for the adventurous or for urban vets.

    But I guarantee that one day at Staples will have people pining for the wide variety of restaurants and watering holes *in walking distance* of SDCC. Now, if you’ve got a car and time, LA is a wonderland. If you don’t, well, The Pantry is good for breakfast, and that taco shop in the car wash on Olympic and Figueroa is not to be missed. I love LA. It’s a great place, full of history and a rich tapestry of waiting experiences, but the convention center location can’t support the “con outside the con” that helps make San Diego special.

  8. There’s a subway at the LA convention center? I remember taking the streetcar/light rail from Century City (cheap hotel near Hollywood Raceway) and then walking three blocks.

    I attended BEALA two years ago, and the center is nice. If it can handle BEA, it can handle CCI. From a coldly logical perspective, I would pick Las Vegas. Lots of space to expand, lots of hotel rooms, easy air connections.

  9. Actually, they’ve just opened a bunch of restaurants right beside the L.A. Convention Center, including Wolfgang Puck, the excellent Farm and ESPN Zone. And for those of us who come to SDCC from L.A., we’d save a lot by not having to pay for hotel, overnight parking and transportation to San Diego. Yes, the nightlife would suffer, which is why Las Vegas is a good option. Plenty of hotels and while it’s hot, how long will you be outdoors for?

  10. ***shhh!***

    All them outside-suitors talk are just ‘negotiation positioning’ by the CCI folks… just as dangling that ‘future expansion’ of the Convention Center by the SD politicos. Pretty words being thrown around before the deadline of signing the new contracts FINALLY come around…

    Look: should they take the “San Diego” part out of “Comic-Con”, the CCI organisers and new-found metropolitan beau will quickly discover that CCI:Wherever will just be a shadow of what SDCC used to be. Sure, the weather’s a factor— why else would all them NYC-based Comics creators decide to fly across the country 40 years ago? San Diego IS and always will be a prime Summer Vacation spot: and transplanting the Con to Vegas for one and other interchangeable metropolitan urban center WON’T be the same to attract the passes-buying constituencies the current Con now enjoys. A lesser concern would be the willingness of the H’wood Film and TV contigent to travel someplace further than a 2-hr drive from their LA base: an argument for Anaheim, yes, but problematic for elsewhere. On the plus side, though— moving more than 2 hrs away just might help bring about that ‘return’ of the Con to its “Comics” root? and just might reduce the current clusterf*ck of having 125K+ attendees to something more manageable: ONLY “Comics” fans would be attending! (And there was much rejoicing.) Which in turn would probably piss off the new site owners hoping for that Summer uptick of 125K+ visitors would bring to their hotel taxes and local economy; and on top of the financial
    ‘incentives’ that new site would be giving the CCI to relocate, moving the Con might not be the monetary bonanza they had hoped for. And then: should there be a couple of years of this non-SDCC level of performance, would the CCI be forced to relocate AGAIN? (If so, good foresight in rebranding it to “CCI”— that after-colon placement can fit in any name!)

    Moving the Comic-Con: “Killing the Golden Goose” anyone?

  11. Every year (like this one) in which I cannot swing a trip to San Diego I am sad about missing it. Moving the convention to L.A. would effectively solve this problem, because a big part of what I love about SDCC is the walking-around-San-Diego part.

  12. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the city basically treat CC as a red headed step-child? I seem to remember a Beat post maybe a year back where the city was touting (of all things) some random lame sounding business convention and not even mentioning Comic-Con.

    Personally I’d love LA. I don’t need to “get away” – not at absurd price it is for a hotel room in San Diego these days. For that price I could *actually* get away to some place nice.

  13. As someone who currently lives in San Diego, and benefits from the Con’s proximity, you can take what I say with a grain of salt. That said, however, my consistent impression from the Con organizers is that they are *very* anchored in San Diego. Forty years is a long time and I just find it hard to believe they would actually move when it came down to it. My (uninformed) guess is that all the flirting is really about negotiating with the SD city government and not much more than that.

    Secondly, I would be very interested in seeing how the mailing addresses of the 125K attendees break down. My (also uniformed) guess is that the majority really do come from the greater San Diego area, but I’d love to actually know for sure.

  14. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the city basically treat CC as a red headed step-child? I seem to remember a Beat post maybe a year back where the city was touting (of all things) some random lame sounding business convention and not even mentioning Comic-Con.”

    Amazing how a rough economy combined with the demonizing of corporate retreats and expense account spending can change the tune of the city fathers, ain’t it?

    Those other events meant a lot of cash to the city and was valued more at the time because it was (thanks to expense accounts) more spent per person. The hotels may not have sold out like they do for us, but the hotel roms that did fill up didn’t have five or six people in a double like happens during SDCC. NOW, with that kind of expense being frowned upon and the city having a rough first and second quarter as a result, our (mostly) non-subsidized visit to the city is looking damn good.

  15. I’m wondering if the pursuit will be as great if attendance drops to say… 75K by 2015.
    It’s always assumed CCI will do nothing but grow. Why couldn’t the opposite happen?
    (not soon of course)

  16. It would be sad to see SDCC move from San Diego–as large as it has become, I think the easy-going vibe of the city has helped Comic-Con maintain some semblance of its more intimate, fandom roots.

    But given the trajectory growth of the convention, I don’t see how the show can grow if it stays in San Diego–unless, of course, the convention center decides to expand as it’s now considering.

    I’m an Angelino now, but as a transplant from the East Coast, I must admit I’ve never particularly been an L.A. booster. But though there have been a lot of hiccups and obstacles along the way (topped by the current economy), downtown L.A. has slowly begun to seriously re-gentrify, and I do believe Comic-Con would accelerate that effort and benefit as well. If the show had to leave San Diego, I do think L.A. would be a better fit than Vegas or Anaheim–yes, because of personal convenience, but also because of my familiarity with all three of these other cities and their convention facilities.

  17. Here’s a really wild thought….
    If CCI pulls up stakes from San Diego (not that I think it’s likely), who would move right in to fill that void? What if somebody wanted to have, you know, a COMIC BOOK convention in ‘Diego?

  18. I like San Diego as a comic convention. Except for maybe Angouleme, I can’t imagine a place I’d get to see Lewis Trondheim, Richard Thompson, Jack Katz, Lew Sayres Schwartz, Jeff Smith, Mike Mignola, Trina Robbins and the Hernandez Brothers rat a tat tat.

    I don’t even really notice the other stuff except for the random celebrity sighting. I never even see 99 percent of it. I might feel differently if I had to be in that registration line, I don’t know.

    I do think it’s likely someone will try a satellite event in the next few years.

  19. I’m sure Wizard would be more than happy to counter-program a convention in San Diego if the current one moves to Vegas.

  20. The area around the LA Convention Center is no longer an urban wasteland. By 2013, the area will probably have MORE to offer! In fact, there are already plenty of things within walking distance from the LACC– and the metro system is pretty straightforward and can take attendees to other parts of the city if they wish to explore.

    I love having the convention at SD, but if they HAVE to move it anywhere, my vote goes to LA!

  21. PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO TEH HATERS!!! downtown la is not that bad, its being thoroughly gentrified as we speak!

    Hell the Steampunk freaks alone have the best watering hole waiting for them at the Edison. google it, tis the most beautiful bar ever with the best sweet potato fries ever.

    There’s tons of stuff for kiddies not just Disneyland, there’s also Universal Studios which is eaaaaasily accessible using the downtown centered subway.

    There’s tooons of really fancy awesome food places downtown nowadays, and bars are about the only thing they ever had right to begin with!

    Not just Edison, but http://www.ladowntownnews.com/articles/2009/07/14/listings/bars_and_clubs/doc49b5be6ae3a1a639785270.txt

    Please give LA a chance unlike other places the natives would actually like to have the convention, doesn’t that count for something?

    Some of the best comic book stores are in this city Meltdown on which that one Alan Moore-Simpsons episode is obviously based on. Golden Apple, Earth2, Secret Headquarters…. tons more.

  22. I think things even out, once one considers the fact that all other costs in the SD area are cheaper than they would be at other locations.

  23. Alan Coil wrote: “In short, Vegas is too hot. San Diego: 72 degrees. Vegas: 110 degrees.”

    I’ve attended Comicon International three times, and all three times it was hot and muggy — and always warmer than 72 degrees. As a matter of fact, in 2006, the temperature was 80 degrees on Thursday, 82 on Friday, 99 on Saturday, and 83 on Sunday.

    I’ve also been to Vegas a half-dozen times or so, and while it certainly is hot, I don’t ever remember being as uncomfortable there as I was not just outside of the San Diego Convention Center, but INSIDE as well. The convention center does not have a very effective climate control system, in my opinion.

    Still, I agree that Vegas is probably not a good option — especially for the dealers at Comicon. I sure wouldn’t want to have to compete for the fans’ dollars with all the potential money-syphoning distractions Vegas has to offer.

  24. >>I’ve attended Comicon International three times, and all three times it was hot and muggy — and always warmer than 72 degrees. As a matter of fact, in 2006, the temperature was 80 degrees on Thursday, 82 on Friday, 99 on Saturday, and 83 on Sunday.

    And last year the temperature was consistently in the low to mid 70s for the entire full four days of the con – which is more typical for San Diego in late July, according to historical weather data.

  25. Stephen wrote: “And last year the temperature was consistently in the low to mid 70s for the entire full four days of the con – which is more typical for San Diego in late July, according to historical weather data.”

    Yeah, but according to Al Gore, things are only going to get worse…

    Maybe Chicago will become the new San Diego. After all, this year, we’ve had a June and July that has been unusually cool.

    And the McCormick Place convention complex here makes San Diego’s look puny by comparison.

  26. A friend was just commenting about how cool this summer was. The temperature today was 85, which is the average high for this area in the summer. This summer may seem cool compared to other summers, but that’s because many recent summers were above normal. The 10 hottest summers have all occurred in the last 20-22 years.

  27. My vote goes to LA. Since we live there, instead of spending more than half our money on hotel, transportation and food, we’d be spending most of it on convention wares.

  28. Alan Coil wrote: “This summer may seem cool compared to other summers, but that’s because many recent summers were above normal. The 10 hottest summers have all occurred in the last 20-22 years.”

    No, Chicago was not “relatively” cooler in June — the average temperature for the first 13 days were the coldest in 50 years. And July started out the same way. Even after a couple of warm days in a row, July is still averaging six degrees cooler than normal.

    If this keeps up for a few more years, Chicago WILL be the new San Diego!

  29. I do recall several years in a row when the San Diego Comic-Con was pretty muggy and hot–but those were flukes. The past couple years it’s been milder and pleasant (esp. at night), and it appears it will be again this year. This is normal San Diego/coastal weather.

    My parents lived in Vegas for about 5 years, and I have been there many times on trips, so I am very familiar with the weather there. Believe me, Vegas in July is intensely HOT, and there’s no comparison in the weather. Yes, the buildings in Vegas are kept incredibly cool, but I’d much prefer the character of San Diego over the desert oasis of Vegas.

  30. I’m happy enough to turn in a hotel rooftop and clear cool skies and friendly conversation for bottle service at an expensive club where you can’t hear anything and everyone knows my suit is off the rack. Those places are fun, too. But I can’t imagine the reluctant to spend money on anything but comics crowd trying to negotiate their way through the we would like you to be spending at least some money at all times parts of Vegas.

  31. I think all the people who are “voting” for a certain locale based on THEIR residency being within close proximity are funny. There are thousands of people in every major city who would love to have Comic-Con in their backyard. That doesn’t mean anything to anyone. What matters is how many tickets can be sold to people who are going to purchase wares from the retailers. That’s the bottom line here.

    The more space you have, the more retailers & consumers you can pack in, and the more money switches hands, so that the local economy of whichever Convention Center gets/keeps CCI benefits, the retailers benefit, and the consumers are more easily parted with their cash. If you can make the exhibit hall even more comfortable & convenient for the consumers (ie; wider aisles, larger rooms for panels, etc.), then they will stick around longer. The big names will go wherever the people are, in order to promote their tv shows, movies, etc. – so if you can pack the people in, you have a captive audience. Sell it right and they will pay attention.

    Your personal locale doesn’t matter. So stop voicing your opinions just because it’s more convenient to you. I live in the San Diego area and I’d LOVE to see Comic-Con in a building with more space to walk around, perusing the wares, and avoid being smothered by every fat nerd who thinks it’s okay to not shower every day. Whether that means an extension to the SD Convention Center or moving the convention… I’m okay with it. Those who desire to go to the convention will follow as long as the amenities are favorable.