Don’t worry, San Diego. It looks like Comic-Con ain’t going anywhere.
After this past summer’s convention was plagued with rumors that operations could pull up stakes and move to either Los Angeles or Anaheim, hotels in downtown San Diego — which have profited heavily from the need to house 125,000 people over a long weekend — agreed to discounted rates for the next four conventions. That convinced Comic-Con International — the corporate body that runs this convention and a handful of others — to keep the convention in the California city, remaining in close proximity with its competitive neighbors.
“We are grateful for the tireless efforts all three cities put into their proposals,” said David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and public relations, in a release. “In the end, we feel this decision is the best for all those who attend Comic-Con and for the organization itself. We are happy that the community has worked with us to ensure that we remain here.”
Although hotel price gouging was an issue, what really concerned convention organizers was the fact that they had literally run out of space at the San Diego Convention Center. In recent years, the convention started using off-site hotels for additional meeting space, forcing the convention to expand in ways that some attendees felt was inconvenient and cumbersome.
If Comic-Con had moved, it wouldn’t be until after the 2012 edition, since that’s when it lease expires with the convention center. However, this new deal will keep the convention in place through 2015 — not a big surprise, since San Diego has been the home of this convention (and its meager beginnings) since 1970.
The convention has grown into a marketing opportunity for many networks and studios, which are no longer tied to just comic books or even science-fiction. In 2009, Fox brought “Glee” to the convention, worried it wouldn’t gel with the fanbase that attends Comic-Con. Instead, it was a packed auditorium to see what was the regular season premiere of the show.
The growth of the convention was helped by San Diego’s proximity to many filming sites, and the ease that networks and studios could bring in talent — almost always at no cost to the convention itself. That has kept ticket prices — despite the number of celebrities that attend — at highly affordable rates, and allowing the convention to usually be sold out within hours of tickets going on sale.