San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced yesterday that the wildly popular Comic-Con International convention, which attracts over 120,000 attendees annually, will remain in San Diego through 2016. The large number of attendees have been both a source of pride and problem for the city as Comic-Con has outgrown the San Diego Convention Center and impacted several businesses and services in the area.
Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Las Vegas have all been vying to get the most prominent US-based pop culture convention into their cities by showcasing their larger convention centers and tourist-friendly facilities. But, Comic-Con organizers are content with staying in San Diego after San Diego city officials proposed an expensive $520-million expansion of the convention center. City officials hope to start construction by next year and have the area ready for business in 2016.
According to David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and communications, while Comic-Con extension was not predicated on the expansion, “If we can all continue to work together over the next few years, we should all be happy campers.”
Unfortunately, the $520-million expansion is currently in court because of its controversial financing scheme. The proposal empowers local hoteliers to decide whether or not to increase the room tax to gather funds for the convention center expansion and the hoteliers will also get a slice of the revenue for promotional purposes. Some of the hoteliers who would be directly affected by the expansion include the Manchester Grand Hyatt, the San Diego Marriott and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
Lastly, the $520-million expansion would first need to win approval from the California Coastal Commission before proceeding, another lengthy process that may delay or derail the expansion.
Previously, San Diego claimed that the convention pumped $60 million into the local economy, but Mayor Jerry Sanders increased the number to $180 million yesterday and explained that the economic impact is one of the reasons why he fought hard for Comic-Con to remain in the city. According to Mayor Jerry Sanders, “The economic impact is out of this world.”
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf chimed in that the revenue goes directly to city services, like public safety and library hours, and that the expansion plan will ultimately generate more jobs because Comic-Con will be able to accommodate more attendees, who will then engage in more services.
San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC 2013) will take place July 18-21 but David Glanzer stated that it hasn’t been determined when tickets will go on sale for the general public, but it won’t be until 2013.