Comic-Con International, the annual fan fest of all things pop culture, will remain in San Diego home for four more years. On Oct. 29, event organizers and Mayor Jerry Sanders announced a one-year extension of their contract, keeping the convention at the San Diego Convention Center and surrounding area through 2016.
David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and communications, said contract details have yet to be finalized, such as hotel room rates. He also noted the two sides are working together to address the convention’s needs, reports San Diego’s KFMB.
Those needs include more space, as Comic-Con has outgrown the size of the San Diego Convention Center. To accommodate the convention, events are now held in hotel meeting spaces and Petco Park.
During the press conference announcing the extension, Sanders said Comic-Con turns the Gaslamp Quarter, the area around the convention center, into a “high-tech ‘Twilight Zone,’” with opportunities for people watching.
Not only does Comic-Con offer the area some extra local color, as many attendees dress in character for the multi-day, multi-genre convention, it provides the influx of substantial tourist dollars.
“[Comic-Con is] not only an enormous source of pride, it’s an enormous source of revenue for San Diego – for the city, for the hotels, for the shops and for the restaurants,” Sanders said, according to KFMB. “The economic impact is out of this world.”
In 2012, Comic-Con attracted more than 130,000 attendees who played, stayed and infused the area with tourist dollars. Sanders noted Comic-Con added $180 million dollars to the local economy last year, with $3 million dollars for the city through sales and hotel room tax income.
The contract extension provides San Diego with additional time to expand the convention center. The center’s expansion was not a factor in the contract extension, reports U-T San Diego, but space remains an ongoing concern for organizers.
“We really didn’t take the expansion into consideration in making our decision,” Glanzer said. “If by next year and the following year, we have such an influx of people that the added space we use doesn’t work and there’s no expansion, then it could be an issue.”
Comic-Con has not only grown become a major influence on mainstream entertainment; it has outgrown its venue. Organizers have publicly noted Comic-Con’s need for more exhibition and panel space as well as other issues related to the convention’s size, including the need for more affordable, local accommodations for attendees.
San Diego is taking steps to keeping Comic-Con in the area. Included in the plans, the Los Angeles Time reports, is the $520 million city officials have approved for the convention center’s expansion. These plans need to go through an approval process before construction can begin.
Comic-Con International is scheduled for July 18 – 21, 2013, with tickets going on sale some time next year. Anaheim’s WonderCon will take place March 29 – 31, 2013, and the local Pittsburgh Comicon will take place Sept. 27 – 29, 103.
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