UPDATE with more info from news conference: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer this morning is making official what had been expected for some time — that his city is keeping the annual Comic-Con convention through 2018 in a new deal just finalized. The previous contract with Comic-Con International was due to expire after this current year’s confab, which kicks off next week.
The two-year extention, being unveiled now at a press conference, comes after months of negotiations to keep the lucrative and ever-expanding fanboy confab at the San Diego Convention Center, and even more months of not-so-behind-the-scenes lobbying by Los Angeles and Anaheim to move the convention up north. The event already has grown well beyond the confines of the convention center, which has been offering CCI a flat discounted rate to keep it around. Planned expansion of the facility has faced several delays.
Faulconer said in his giddy announcement surrounded by Comic-Con and convention center brass that the confab brings in $135 million-plus annually to the city. “If you still don’t understand how much Comic-Con means to San Diego,” he said, “more Superman means more super-streets, more light sabers means more library hours, and more Comic-Con means more neighborhood services for San Diegans.”
Among the keys to the deal to keep the confab in San Diego was convincing hotels not to jack rates for the slew of visitors who invade the city each year. Last year the convention drew an estimated 130,000 fanboys, cosplayers and Hollywood studios and networks (and their stars) to town.
The deal comes just ahead of this year’s 46th annual Comic-Con, which runs July 9-12.
Los Angeles already nabbed Comic-Con’s sister confab WonderCon for next year, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti has been jockeying behind the scenes — and sometimes in public — to bring Comic-Con north.