Comic-Con International is synonymous with San Diego - for some comics fans, that's what the city is known best for. But could Comic-Con leave its coastal home for greener ... or what that bigger pastures?
Los Angeles Times published a story Wednesday outlining how several other California cities have submitted proposals to host the annual convention after its contract with San Diego ends in 2016. The article named Los Angeles and Anaheim as cities vying to host the lucrative event, which in 2014 generated an estimated $177.8 million for San Diego's economy.
Los Angeles' hopes to host Comic-Con are well-known, having made overtures back in 2010 during Comic-Con's last negotiation period with San Diego. As a potential site, Los Angeles would be closer to many of the Hollywood companies that have become signature parts of the transmedia event. But its Achilles heel may be lack of hotel rooms around the convention center, already a growing problem for San Diego.
Los Angeles reportedly has fewer than 5,000 hotel rooms within a mile of the convention center, with an additional 2,000 or so rooms under construction, compared to 11,000 within walking distance of the convention center in San Diego.
Anaheim, although not as well known as Los Angeles or San Diego, stands out because it's already in business with Comic-Con's organizers with its other convention, WonderCon. Anaheim offers the largest convention center of all three cities, but it also is host to Disney's two California theme parks. Its trump card is the more than 13,000 hotel rooms within a mile of the convention center.
But leaving San Diego isn't a foregone conclusion for Comic-Con International. In 2011, San Diego greenlit a plan to radically expand the convention center to meet the demands of the convention which has maxed out attendance for several years. But that plan was shot down in 2014 in a state appeals court over the financing, leaving Comic-Con with the current cramped convention center for the visible future. San Diego officials have expressed intentions to finance the expansion through other means, but no solid plans or timeline has come forth.
In a story that can read between the lines like public leverage for the Comic-Con organizers with the city of San Diego, the head of the San Diego Tourism Authority estimates that a decision should be made by Comic-Con in the coming months.