Tuesday, July 14, 2009

San Diego Comic-con could move!

Comic-Con International in San Diego is THE biggest comic and entertainment convention of the year, both in number of attendees and in square-footage. There has been talk for years that the San Diego Comic-con would move. The problem is that the con is at capacity, there is no where to expand TO at their present site. They use every square inch of the current hall for the show. There has been talk of another expansion of the current exhibit facility, but nothing has happened as of yet. If the SD people don't get their act together soon it is very possible that Comic-con International after being in San Diego for the last 40 years will be changing venues. There are apparently 3 other venues that have been courting Comic-con International for years. Their contract expires in 2012 in the current SD location, so after that CCI has not committed to any venue. The three choices are: Las Vegas, Anaheim, and Los Angeles. Check out the chart above, I think it's pretty obvious where the CCI will move to: Los Angeles. It's a no brainer. The con hall costs little to no money, since the city makes up for the loss of revenue in the sheer volume of hotel rooms rented, etc. I don't want to see CCI move from SD, but I don't see what else they can do. The con is already at capacity. They sold out of tickets MONTHS ago, that's right MONTHS. If they could accommodate more bodies, CCI could be making even MORE money. And let's face it, it's all about the money, it has to be when you are in business. I wonder if they've been tracking the number of people that WANTED to get tickets but couldn't. I suppose they could also track the number of people that come to the con during the show and ask for tickets. So they can fit about 126,000 people right now, my guess is they could easily sell another 30,000 tickets if they had them. The problem with moving the show to LA is the hall would only fit an additional 14,000 people. Not much room to grow there, and LV only would accommodate an additional 24,000 people. Hm... I wonder what the capacity for McCormick Place in Chicago is if they use all of the space. Maybe they could just move it here? Chicago SURE is convenient for all the folks in Hollywood, ok NOT, but it's fun to dream. The floor space available at McCormick Place is 2,670,000 square feet, which is 670,000 feet MORE than the LV con hall, which leads me to assume that capacity for attendees would be MORE than LV, but I can't verify that. I tried to call and ask them, but their offices were closed, so give me an "A" for effort anyway. Maybe McCormick Place should also throw their collective hat into the ring for consideration. Yes, C2E2 will indeed be at McCormick place in April 2010, but that will be a brand new show. I expect it to big, grand, and most likely expensive, but it doesn't have the 40 years branding and experience behind it. So could Comic-con International come to Chicago instead of staying in SD or moving to LA or LV? Hell yeah. Do I think it will happen? Hell no. We are just TOO far from Hollywood to make it work, which is why if CCI does change venue, I'm guessing it will just move to LA proper to make it that much easier for the Hollywood folks to come out in droves. In that case, they might as well dump the
"Comic" part of the show and just call it an "Entertainment" expo, but I hope SD finds a way to convince the CCI to stay right where it is in beautiful downtown Sad Diego. If they could present the new expansion plans with a definite ground breaking date, maybe CCI would consider staying. I'll keep you posted.


  1. My money's on LA, if they move. More for the convenience of the major studios than the financial upside (is that $1K in rental? That's crazy cheap - cheaper than my daughter's wedding reception).

    Of course, Vegas would be a kick, since I really need an excuse to go there.

    J Limke

  2. It would be great if Comic-Con International moved to Chicago. But there's no way to compete with the major studios in LA.

    Oh well...

  3. There will always be talk of moving. It's how the con works better deals with the city. The city is working on a expansion plan which includes photos already posted of the expansion as well as how to pay for it with several options. You need to live in SD I guess to avoid the rumours about the con since both the con and the city here want to keep it in place. Las Vegas has wanted it for a long time due to the fact they are one of the worst hit cities right now (spelled not doing well) but since we had a comic con there a few years ago (2003?) and it bombed don't expect another one soon. No one wants to move it to Las Vegas except Las Vegas. Your numbers are also slightly off in some areas above since the Los Angeles center actually only has 720,000 feet of enclosed space. Neither location in LA or Anaheim is that much bigger and in some cases would be worse with hotels. The future expansion in San Diego would be about a 50% increase in size for the dealers room as well as the whole center itself. It would also include a main ballroom twice the size of the current ballroom 20 in the center (about 80,000 feet). Just wait before you bury the SD con in SD.

  4. I'm not really saying anything that other sites aren't saying. It's the talk and that's it. It has been the talk for years. I go these numbers from a number of sites that had it posted. I certainly hope it stays in SD, it's a WONDERFUL place to host a big con! It's beautiful, the weather is great, and there are tons of hotels and awesome places to eat within walking distance. I'm just thinking at some point they will have to do something to accomodate the larger crowds that they could possibly hold. I'm sure CCI would love to be able to sell more tickets if they could. And yes I agree it won't move to LV since there was a con there a few years back that did very poorly. I just have my fingers crossed that they do the expansion and soon so everyone will be happy!

  5. Here's a link for the San Diego Convention Center expansion plans.

    Part of the problem with the Cons size and over-crowding is the question of how big does it need to be? If SD does increase the Convention Centers size but simply fills it up with more people it does nothing for the over-crowding issue. That's true if you move it to a larger center in any city. E3 went through this problem in LA already and decided to downsize at a smaller level. CES in Las Vegas is pretty bad with a really big center too. The con is non-profit so it needs to figure out just how big they want or need to be. The best way is to extend the Cons length which would allow greater attendance and reduce the over-crowding. Seattle has a lot more people at it's film festival every year but it's over a 2 week period. The SD Comic-Con tries to do a large attendance in just 4 1/2 days. They simply don't want to extend it's length due to the extra work involved but it would solve the attendance and over-crowding problems. Another area of concern is a lot of the paid attendance is from the San Diego area. Putting it in LA does not guarantee the San Diego fanbase attending it in LA. They might lose more attendance than they gain since the con here has been a 40 year homegrown event. I'm from LA originally but I doubt I'd go more than 1 day if it moves vs getting a 5 day pass. I agree though the city has until 2012 to get something going with the expansion otherwise I think a move is possible. If it happens I doubt the con or city will be happy. It may turn out like E3's move from LA to Atlanta which ended up with it back in LA. Sometimes the pasture only seems greener...

    (Chicago is getting their own con next april anyway. That's what I've been hearing at this years SD Con at least...)