Comic-Con to Stay in San Diego Through 2018
San Diego Comic-Con is the center of the geek world, the place where movies and TV and comics and games and toys all converge into one giant melting pot. Sure, there are other comic conventions all over the nation, but there is only one true Comic-Con and it has been based in San Diego since its inception in 1970. However, as Comic-Con has grown, so too have the rumors that the con would depart San Diego for a city with a larger convention center. But it looks like everything is staying put for the time being. Comic-Con organizers and the City of San Diego have reached an agreement that will keep SDCC in the city through at least 2018.
The report comes from the San Diego Union-Tribune and an official statement is expected later today at a press conference. The nutshell version goes something like this: San Diego city representatives and Comic-Con International have been in negotiations for months to make this deal happen and it ultimately came down to hotel rooms. Since hotel rates tend to skyrocket when an army of nerds descend upon the city every July, all of the local establishments had to agree to keep their rooms affordable and cap their prices. According to the report, Mayor Kevin Faulconer himself got involved, personally entering the negotiations to convince the hotels to work with them. And it worked:
As part of its effort to protect Comic-Con attendees from overly high rates for always in-demand lodging, organizers sought agreements from the more than 50 hotels in its discounted room block to not raise their rates above contracted 2016 levels and to commit to at least the same inventory of rooms for 2017 and 2018. Most of the hotels in the current block of Comic-Con hotels are concentrated in downtown and Mission Valley and this year are charging rates that range from a low of $166 for the Days Inn-Hotel Circle to a high of $380 for a deluxe room with concierge service at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter.
It’s easy to see why San Diego would fight so hard to keep the world’s most famous pop culture convention within its city limits. Each year, 130,000 people attend Comic-Con, which means 130,000 people spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in the city. That’s a massive boon to the local economy and as long as the citizenry is fine putting up with random pedestrians dressed like Ninja Turtles for a few days, everyone benefits. The San Diego Convention Center itself has bent over backwards to help, capping the rental fee at a paltry $150,000.
Still, it’s easy to see why Comic-Con International might want to move. San Diego is by no means a small city, but the con has been steadily outgrowing it. Reserving a hotel room is, notoriously, a chore and visitors never seem happy with the luck-of-the-draw system. Comic-Con itself is simply too large for the Convention Center and many fans thought that the city’s failure to expand the center would be the final nail in the coffin. And then there are the cities actively seeking Comic-Con to come to them. Anaheim and Los Angeles have both made offers in the past and both have convention space far more suited for Comic-Con’s size.
And yet there’s that sense of history in San Diego and that nostalgia is powerful. More powerful than more space and happier visitors? For now, at least. San Diego will still be home to Comic-Con for a while longer, but we have to wonder if these three years represents the end of the line.