Will Anaheim take the SD out of SDCC?

30 APRIL 2015

Another day, another article on the tempting towns that just might steal Comic-Con out of San Diego's clutches. The focus of this article: Anaheim. Which according to Jay Burress, CEO of the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureay, attendees would just love.

The argument is less than convincing. Yes, Disney is right there (because attendees want to drop another few hundred after blowing a fortune at the Con, right?) and at some point there's going to be lots of parking. Yawn. But the article seems to think hotel rooms are Anaheim's ace in the hole. Which they could be, but that argument would be more persuasive illustrated by a deeply personal Hotel Day account. Instead we find out that:

  • Anaheim has 13,000 hotel rooms within a mile. Note the distance. San Diego does have a decent number of hotel rooms as well but not within a mile.
  • Of the 54 hotels doing Travel Planner discounted rates for SDCC, 4 have not signed on for those rates in 2016. Please note that doesn't include the hotels that have signed on, but are making fewer rooms available at those rates.
  • SDCC organizers and San Diego officials are "optimistic" the Con will stay in San Diego.

Then weirdly the article says this: "The cost of hotel rooms is the one factor that San Diego has room to negotiate. It could be the secret weapon the city can use to keep the convention in town."

What? Everything else we've been told points to hotel rates going up. We saw that ourselves in the very special "overflow" site this year. We're just not getting as many discounted rooms as we used to.  If Hilton Bayfront was saying, "Sorry, sold out unless you want to pay a thousand a night" this year, where exactly is the room to negotiate? Unless city officials pressure hotels to return to discounted prices again, I fail to see a "secret weapon."

But maybe that'll happen. Maybe the Comic-Con overlords will slap some sense into local hotels and tell them to quit being greedy. I'm just not sure what the incentive would be, since the customer base for those expensive rooms is clearly there.

In the meantime, Anaheim will sing its siren's song and L.A. will join the chorus. It's a little disconcerting that we're still having this conversation in spring 2015 when CCI's contract is so close to its end. This dialogue has been going on for years - and the fact that it hasn't landed on a resolution yet makes a lot of us dubious that any kind of satisfactory outcome is going to happen in the next 2 years.


  1. "Maybe the Comic-Con overlords will slap some sense into local hotels and tell them to quit being greedy. I'm just not sure what the incentive would be, since the customer base for those expensive rooms is clearly there"

    CCI can threaten the hotels with relocation. Just inform them that they don't want their patrons to be gouged with excessive pricing, but here's the catch. Some of the hotels closest to the Anaheim Convention Center are the same chains as the ones closest to the San Diego Convention Center (Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, etc). So if CCI tries to play hard ball, the hotel chains can play rough too.

    1. Good point. I really don't see an easy resolution here, unless the city can put the pressure on the hotels to play nice for the sake of SD's economy.

  2. Where do you want the Con to go? I've seen multiple cities mentioned now.

    1. I want it to go wherever the most people can have an enjoyable Comic-Con. More attendees walking in the door. Affordable, nearby hotel rooms. Decent places to eat. However all of the main names tossed around - Vegas, LA, Anaheim - have some kind of drawback.

      I don't see SDCC leaving San Diego. I think the organizers want to keep it there, and the city wants to keep it there, but opponents to the expansion - and now the hotels - have made it difficult. But moving would bring other logistical challenges and there's the question of branding. Will San Diego Comic-Con sound as magical and alluring if it's Anaheim Comic-Con or LA Comic-Con? Even if CCI promise to have all the same starpower? I think some attendees will fall off at that point, although that could be a good thing.