2020 SDCC Cancelled

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.]

9 thoughts on “2020 SDCC Cancelled

  1. I wonder how many cons haven’t cancelled or moved online yet? I guess there must be still a few in the latter half of the year who are waiting to see. I assume as well there’s a point that it is best to wait to cancel for contractual reasons.

  2. Well, now there’s one fewer: Readercon pulled the trigger this evening. Guests have agreed to come next year.

    So far, Pennsic has not canceled, but they’re thinking hard about what to do (per links I’ve been passed).

  3. It will be a few months before we decide about OryCon (mid-November), but we’re watching things carefully. GameStorm, our other event, was scheduled for late March and it was an early casualty.

    I fully expect to hear any day now that the Seattle Westercon will not happen.

  4. The 2020 Eurocon in October in Rijeka, Croatia, is still going forth, if only because October is a long way off and we don’t how the situation will be then. There is also a one day SF event approx. one and a half hours from where I live, also in October, which was also still going ahead last time I checked. WetzKon III in July is also not yet officially cancelled, though I suspect they will have to, because mass gatherings are supposedly banned until August 31.

  5. @Camestros, Windycon in November is still on track, but the concom is watching developments very carefully. We have no idea what the situation will be in seven months, especially since our Guest of Honor, Ben Aaronovitch, will be flying in from England, which is currently not possible until the US government lifts the travel ban.

  6. Camestros Felapton: ConCarolinas’ policy still seems to be what was in their March 14 statement.

    Just like you, we are watching the world close down around us and are wondering what will happen with ConCarolinas. Here’s what we know at the moment: All of the closures and postponements have been for a limited time, most of them for a month or less. With ConCarolinas more than two months away, we are waiting to make a decision on whether to postpone, or to cancel, or to go on with the show. Right now it is difficult to determine what the coronavirus pandemic will look like in May. Please be patient with us as we try to make decisions that will keep all of us safe and healthy, without being premature.

    We have been in close communication with the Hilton. At this time, we have plans in place for moving forward with ConCarolinas during our regularly scheduled dates of May 29-31. We will have hand sanitizer in all public areas and panel rooms, and will have signage reminding attendees to wash hands often and to limit close physical contact….

  7. Westercon 73 Seattle is in a holding pattern: as long as official government orders about large gatherings don’t cover the first weekend of July (which they currently do not), their hotel (which is currently shut down completely, I’m told) insists that they must hold their convention or pay an impossibly-large cancellation fee. Norwescon (same hotel) was able to escape due to force majeure, but Westercon 73 is stuck until government orders are extended, as I expect them to eventually be done.

    I’ve been staying in touch with Westercon 73 on this. I’m on the Westercon 73 committee myself (Business Meeting Chair), and WC73 chair Sally Woehrle is on the Westercon 74 Tonopah committee (Advisor to Chair, i.e. me). The Westercon 73 and 74 committees and our respective parent non-profit corporations are keeping a close eye on the situation. Even though our committees are organizationally independent of each other, we both are as interested in the overall institution of Westercon as we are with our own respective events.

    Westercon 74 Tonopah, meanwhile, is in great sympathy with our facilities including our headquarters hotel, the Mizpah, which shut down for the duration and whose staff have been mostly furloughed/laid off. As they say on their web site, “We have made the difficult decision to close our beloved Mizpah Hotel while COVID – 19 continues to affect our lives. We will take this time to renovate, clean & update Her and be at the ready when it is safe to do so!”

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