Whether San Diego Comic-Con International will relocate to another city after 2012 when its current commitments expire is a question getting a lot of media attention lately. It’s startling to think of the 126,000 person convention happening anywhere but its birthplace and home for the past 40 years.
The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a story “Is Comic-Con Really Leaving San Diego?” on February 21. The next day the question was echoed by television stations in Southern California serving communities that would like to attract the con, like KTLA in Los Angeles.
Sometimes these stories come in response to information released to leverage public opinion, and that is evidently true in this case. The San Diego Convention Center Corp. recently sent a proposal to Comic-Con seeking to extend its contract through 2015. At the same time, it is making a concerted effort to focus public support on keeping the con in San Diego.
Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer pointed out to the Union-Tribune that four-day passes to this year’s convention sold out in September, and individual tickets for Friday and Saturday are gone, as well. Space is at a premium and the Comic-Con board is already being courted by other convention agencies.
“We have to be aware of our attendees, and we don’t want it to be problematic for them to attend the show,” Glanzer said. “When you have to limit exhibit space and sell out early, those are negatives, but by San Diego trying to increase hotel-room blocks and utilize space at adjacent hotels, that may neutralize some of those things.
“It’s not a secret that Anaheim would love for us to move up there, and they have a world-class facility and a lot of hotels and have put forward a great location, but it will be up to the board to decide exactly what it is we can do. We have to look at the pluses and minuses of everything. It’s not just as easy as choosing a pin on a map and saying, ‘Let’s go here.’?”
Charles Ahlers, president of the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau. Ahlers told a reporter, “Candidly, we think of Comic-Con as a good fit because we have a very nice, walkable housing package and a big convention center that is the largest in California. The emotion is with San Diego because it grew up there and is at risk of leaving, but nothing lasts forever.”
Comic-Con is expected to make its decision within the next month.