Comic-Con International and the City of Los Angeles have reached an agreement to relocate the annual WonderCon, the sister convention to San Diego Comic-Con, to Los Angeles in 2016. It brings an end to the convention’s four-year stay at the Anaheim Convention Center. Next year’s event will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, already home to the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo video game trade show.
Underscoring this agreement made official this morning is the fact that Los Angeles has long coveted the nonprofit’s flagship convention, San Diego Comic-Con. As recently as January it was reported that the city was actively bidding to lure SDCC north. And for good reason: Comic-Con has for several years enjoyed huge attendance, with 130,000 badge holders crowding the San Diego convention center, and tens of thousands more showing up for ancillary events held nearby. All those people have spent a lot of money – an estimated $180 million was pumped into the local economy in 2014. But they also push San Diego’s capacity to bursting, prompting almost yearly speculation that SDCC will relocate to a city with the ability to handle the ever-expanding throngs and allow the convention to expand along with them.
A source confirmed that Los Angeles is still in the running, should Comic-Con International opt to relocate away from San Diego. The decision to move WonderCon to Los Angeles is due only to Anaheim not having enough available space on the necessary dates.
“Los Angeles is honored to have been selected as the destination for WonderCon 2016. We look forward to establishing a long-term partnership with Comic-Con International, the presenter, and helping them establish a home-base in L.A.,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “We anticipate the show to be highly attended and to set the precedent for future successful Comic-Con events in L.A.”
WonderCon is projected to generate more than $32 million for the Los Angeles economy over a three-day period.
This is the third time the convention has moved. Founded in 1987, WonderCon called the Oakland Convention Center home until 2003, when it relocated to San Francisco’s Moscone Center. When it was remodeled in 2011, the convention was moved to Anaheim in what was billed as a temporary relocation.