For those unaware of the situation, Comic-Con has been in San Diego for decades and up until the last few years it looked to stay that way until Comic-Con became a 130,000+ attendee event. This began to create logistical complications for the Comic-Con planning staff and the sponsors as well as attendees. They felt as though the convention center and surrounding hotels were not enough to accommodate the ever expanding convention. This led to talks about having Comic-Con move to Anaheim or Los Angeles. Since the event grew from just 300 people in 1970 all the way up to 130,000, planners believed the move to a bigger city would be beneficial to the convention’s continued growth.
The issue is so big that the Mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, intervened back in March when he worked with the hotel owners to try and iron out a deal. This is mainly because Comic-Con alone pumps in nearly $164 Million dollars into the regional economy every year and is a huge boon to the all important San Diego tourism industry. In the end
, the biggest factors that convinced the event planners to stay in San Diego were not actually about convention floor space, but rather the added values. Those most important factors had to do with the fact that the San Diego Convention Center Corp. guaranteed that there would be free meeting rooms available at 3 bay front hotels through 2015 and that the hotels in the Gaslamp District next to the convention center would guarantee hotel rates through 2015. Another thing, probably the most important, is that Comic-Con has over 3,000 volunteers that assist with the running of the convention and the majority of these people help keep Comic-Con safe and fun for everyone as well as running smoothly. The fear was that they would lose the majority of their volunteers if they moved to LA which was fairly well illustrated by the fact that a “Keep Comic-Con in San Diego” group was established once the rumors of a possible switch surfaced. Just for the sake of full disclosure, yours truly is also a member of said group. This is yet another illustration of how powerful social networks can be if they continually press for an issue such as Comic-Con.
In the end, as someone who has been to Comic-Con for the past few years, it can be said that the event is uniquely San Diego. The simple fact is that it wouldn’t be the same convention if it had gone anywhere else and most if not all of the people who have been to the event would easily agree. Being in San Diego gives it a more relaxed and playful feel rather than the dreaded Hollywood feel that it already has begun to get as more and more comics become adapted into films and large billion dollar franchises are born. All we can say is that we’re glad that Comic-Con will stay in San Diego for another 5 years and we hope that it keeps on growing.
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