Could SDCC really leave San Diego? I doubt it.

 10 JULY 2024

Remember that period of time when we were constantly taunted - or tantalized, depending on your POV - with the idea that San Diego Comic-Con might up and move to Vegas or Anaheim? There would be mock-ups of convention center expansions, then opposing statements from various city authorities, then threats and hints that SDCC would take its big revenue-generating superpowers to a more appreciative city.

Then all of that kind of died down.

Well, David Glanzer, CCI's Chief Communication and Strategy Officer, has revived the conversation. You have to read this Forbes article; he really goes in for the jugular! He makes some excellent points on the conflict between CCI's genuine desire to keep the Con affordable and the limitations of the current space and the economic priorities of local hotels. Specifically, he points out that it's not just a question of literal supply, as so many people assume. He says that some hotels have been making fewer rooms available at SDCC rates because they can charge those sky-high rates for the rest.  

So is Comic-Con really leaving San Diego?

We don't know but Glanzer had some excellent zingers. My favorite quotes:

“We would never want to leave, but if push came to shove and it became untenable for us, it’s something that we would certainly have to look into. As event planners, we’re always contacted by different cities and it would be reckless for us to not at least acknowledge that.” 

This is the Con equivalent of reminding the inattentive person you're dating that you've got options. Do you know how many people want to go out with me? In SDCC's case, it's true.

And this one: “2025 is when our contract expires, unless something happens before the convention this year. And if so, I imagine we would make an announcement during the show.” The pressure is on! Can you imagine if they actually made an announcement? It would have to be on Sunday to prevent people from going absolutely berserk. Or rather, they'd still go berserk, but mostly outside the convention center walls.

And finally: “...We’ve run conventions in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, and they were very successful. I think there are a lot of cities that would want to accommodate us. In my experience with other science fiction cons I have attended, cities would bid for the convention.” Stop taking me for granted and buy a ring already! If you don't want me, others do!

The article also points out that Executive Director Fae Desmond is stepping back; I nominate myself as a replacement. As will a few thousand veteran attendees, I'm sure. All I can say is: heavy is the head that wears the Comic-Con crown, or so I imagine. Really, the entire CCI staff needs to write a memoir of the most batshit attendees, celebrities, and problems they've dealt with. 

Where would we go?

So - to revive this painful question - how devastated will you be if SDCC leaves San Diego? I'm fine with it but I know I'm in the minority. For most attendees, I think, the Gaslamp, the morning fog, favorite bars, irrational attachments to Ballroom 20, and a hundred other factors are deeply embedded into their love for Comic-Con. I don't think it would feel exactly the same if they went to Vegas or some other city. In essence, I think San Diego Comic-Con would die, as if we had unsuccessfully removed a conjoined twin from its side.

And a new Con would be born. San Diego attendees would have a new set of expenses and travel challenges if they followed it, and a new local population of attendees might become interested with the Con in their backyard. Studios might lose interest. Attendees would question why they should still go there as opposed to NYCC or some other Con. It all depends on where the Con would land and how CCI marketed the change.

But in the end, I highly doubt we're going anywhere. What do you think?



  1. Can't see it moving, no place else has the atmosphere right outside the door like SD. But there are problems. And not all are the hotels themselves. Room scalpers. How many have been shut out of the lottery only to find someone that got 5 rooms and is willing to transfer one for a price? I think everyone is looking for a closer/cooler place to stay but it comes down to money. There has to be a better way to do it! On the subject of hotels holding rooms back for an extra charge, why doesn't CCI take that 10% fee they charge on top of rooms to subsidize those extra rooms that the hotels hold back? I'm sure with the power they command they can do something that works. If they can't, why would anyone think they could negotiate a new city to locate to? If it moved, I'm out. Been to all of them. Gaslamp is unique. I don't think anyone could really name a city this could work in. I can give a downside list to all of them that CCI may not have heard. I've seen it happen with other long term shows, a new management team convinces someone it's better/cheaper/more convenient and the show bombs. Sometimes there's no going back!

    1. Yeah, I don't see it moving either. Now they're confirmed through 2026, but that doesn't solve the ongoing issues.