San Diego Comic-Con is entertaining offers from other cities
SAN DIEGO – Comic-Con International, San Diego’s lucrative four-day convergence of costumes and commerce, may be ready for a change of scenery.
With an expansion of San Diego’s convention center stalled, other Southern California convention center operators are making a play to lure away that city’s biggest and most profitable convention, Los Angeles Times reported.
Organizers of the annual gathering of more than 130,000 comic book and pop culture fans are now considering suitors, including Los Angeles and Anaheim, as they weigh the option of signing a contract to stay in San Diego after Comic-Con’s convention next year or finding a new home.
“The proposals we’ve received are pretty amazing,” said David Glanzer, a spokesman for Comic-Con International. “It’s not an easy decision.”
Comic-Con has been held in San Diego for more than 40 years but has outgrown the 615,700 square feet of exhibition space at the waterfront convention center. The event is so popular that tickets are usually sold out within hours after going on sale.
To help keep Comic-Con and other trade shows in San Diego, the city approved a plan in 2011 to expand the convention center by 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, plus 101,000 square feet of meeting space and an 80,000-square-foot ballroom.
But the $520-million expansion lost momentum last summer when a state appeals court ruled against a financing plan that would allow hotels around the convention center — instead of voters — to decide on a tax increase to pay for the project. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has vowed to find another way to finance the expansion.
Still, Faulconer faces another problem. The San Diego Chargers are pushing to have a new stadium built several blocks from the existing convention center, in a combined stadium and convention center expansion site. Without a new stadium, the Chargers might move to Los Angeles.