San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) organizers announced today that for the first time in its 50-year history the event has been cancelled. They explained on their website:
Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer. Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year.
The event, which had been scheduled to take place July 23-26. 2020 will instead return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021.
Similarly, WonderCon Anaheim, which was to have been held April 10-12, 2020 will return to the Anaheim Convention Center from March 26-28, 2021.
The press release did not discuss new plans for presenting the Eisner Awards and other honors announced each year at the San Diego convention.
In addition to their two annual events, Comic-Con has been planning a major renovation of Balboa Park’s Federal Building to be completed for the grand opening of the Comic-Con Museum in the summer of 2021. However, the COVID-19 situation has had an effect on those efforts as well. As such, they will be rephasing the Museum’s initially planned major renovations, but will not scale back the experience to be offered to visitors upon the Museum’s grand opening. They anticipate releasing building plans illustrating the Museum’s transformation and sharing more information about those efforts in the coming months.
SDCC also announced that individuals who purchased badges for Comic-Con 2020 will have the option to request a refund or transfer their badges to Comic-Con 2021. All 2020 badge holders will receive an email within the next week with instructions on how to request a refund. Exhibitors for Comic-Con 2020 will also have the option to request a refund or transfer their payments to Comic-Con 2021 and will also receive an email within the next week with instructions on how to process their request.
In the next few days onPeak, Comic-Con’s official hotel affiliate, will be canceling all hotel reservations and refunding all deposits made through them. There is no need for anyone who booked through onPeak to take any action, including trying to cancel their reservations online or contacting the company via phone as the process will be handled automatically. Those who booked rooms through onPeak will be notified when refunds have been completed.
“Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision,” said David Glanzer, spokesperson for the organization. “We eagerly look forward to the time when we can all meet again and share in the community we all love and enjoy.”
Comic-Con attracts over 135,000 people and is estimated to generate over $147 million for the local economy each year. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he’s not optimistic about a return of mass gatherings for sports events, concerts and fairs this year.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy and N. for the story.]