Comic Con Locked Into San Diego Through 2016

If you’ve been hoping that Comic Con International would move its biggest annual event out of San Diego and into more spacious quarters in Los Angeles or Anaheim, you’re going to have to wait. The organization and city of San Diego announced today that the San Diego Comic Con will remain exactly that through 2016. That’s one year more than the last deal locked in.

The city of San Diego really (really, REALLY) wants Comic Con to stick around, as the event represents a huge windfall for the city and local business. The city has made some big promises over the past few years as the organization has entertained thoughts of moving on. The promises include more hotel rooms (partially fulfilled) and an expansion to the existing convention center, which has not yet happened.

The city and Comic Con have worked around the persistently limited space of the convention center by starting to break the Con events out into other nearby venues, including hotels and Petco Park. That allowed sales of about five thousand extra badges this year. And Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer says expansion is only part of what factored into this decision:

We really didn’t take the expansion into consideration in making our decision. If by next year and the following year, we have such an influx of people that the added space we use doesn’t work and there’s no expansion, then it could be an issue.

Part of the issue with the expansion is that it will be paid for by a two-percent increase on taxes on hotel rooms, and that tax is being challenged in court.

Frankly, at the rate that badges sell out every year (that is: almost immediately) it’s easy to assume that Comic Con International could offer fifteen thousand more — definitely straining the limits of the convention center — and sell them with no trouble. Fact is, the SDCC wasn’t built to handle the crowds and strain of Comic Con, and the event is a logistical challenge even with the best possible staff and conditions. (The staff and conditions aren’t always great, though the staff is certainly hard-pressed to deal with insane crowds every year, which would tax anyone’s patience.) If the tax issue isn’t resolved and the convention center expanded, it is difficult to see the event staying in the city for many years to come. [UTSanDiego]

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