Comic-Con to remain in San Diego through 2018

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SAN DIEGO — Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Thursday Comic-Con will stay in San Diego for another two years, extending their lease through 2018.

Comic-Con, which annually brings thousands of visitors to the city, had been working under a contract to stay in San Diego through 2016.

“We are very happy to call San Diego our home for another two years,” Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said.   “I will be honest, it was touch-and-go for awhile.”

Show and city officials have said for a week or two that an extension was close, but a small group of hotels hadn’t signed on to agreements regarding rates and setting aside blocks of rooms during the busy summer tourism season.

“Some hoteliers were clearly of the opinion, I don’t need to lower my rates I don’t need to reserve this block for this convention,” said Erik Bruvold, President of National University’s Institute for Police Research.
Bruvold said the mid July convention is prime time for summer travel.
“At that time, these hoteliers are already operating at 90-95% occupancy all through the summer,” said Bruvold.
The Mayor himself stepped in to meet with Comic-Con and hotel chains to get the deal done.
“It’s important we have the ability to have people of that have been fans from the very beginning to still come make it affordable,” said Faulconer.

 

Other cities have been trying to lure Comic-Con away for several years now, mainly because it outgrew the San Diego Convention Center long ago. Glanzer said they’ve been able to remain in San Diego in recent years because they’ve used space at nearby hotels and, this year, the San Diego Central Library.

A planned expansion of the center is on hold after the funding mechanism was struck down in court. Mayor Kevin Faulconer said reports from consultants looking at reviving the project are due next month.

For San Diego, the economic stakes of keeping Comic-Con in town are large. The show normally attracts 130,000 attendees, many from outside the area and some from other countries.

“The more than $135 million Comic-Con pumps into the economy helps support jobs, roads and neighborhood services,” Faulconer said at the news conference. “More Superman means more super streets.”

Councilman Todd Gloria, whose district includes downtown, said this year’s show, which begins Wednesday with the annual Preview Night, will generate 60,000 hotel room nights and $2.8 million in tax revenues, while supporting hundreds of jobs for electricians, stage hands, concession workers and others.

“Comic-Con clearly adds to the net benefit of the region’s economy,” said Bruvold.  “For  every one dollar that’s brought in by Comic-Con it adds another $1.86 to our county’s regional economy.”

Bruvold pointed out what isn’t calculated into the numbers is the missed tourism opportunities because of Comic-Con.

“Where people coming to Comic-Con displace folks that otherwise just can’t get a room or won’t put up with the crowds,” said Bruvold.

Bruvold said Comic-Con is only getting bigger as it’s now developed into an international, world wide brand.

“It’s really generated a means of attracting visitors from outside the county who bring their dollars into San Diego when they attend that convention,” said Bruvold.

A convention Gloria compares to the Superbowl and for now, San Diego’s Superbowl is here to stay.

“Most cities are fortunate if they can get the Superbowl once a decade, we get Comic-Con every single year,” said Gloria. “When San Diego competes, we win.”

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