Con Games

Comic-Con International convenes in San Diego three weeks from now. The convention will be there in 2015 and 2016 and then…

Well, 2016 is the last year under the current contract so we'll soon have the usual rumors of the con moving elsewhere as various parties threaten and promise and negotiate. It's a lot like a comic fan haggling with a dealer over the price of a much-needed issue of Wonder Woman. Then, it is my prediction, a deal will get made and the con will stay right where it is for another hunk of years.

But there will be weeks there when we hear it's moving to Anaheim, it's moving to Los Angeles, it's moving to Las Vegas, it's moving to Tony Isabella's back yard in Medina, Ohio…and so on. Of that list, I think only Anaheim is viable with Tony's place a distant second.

The L.A. Convention Center is the convention center from Hell. Terrible facilities. And the whole financial dynamic of the con would change without all those bucks spent by congoers staying at hotels near the convention, dining near the convention, etc. In San Diego, we impact the economy of the entire city. In L.A. and in Vegas, we'd make a difference in about a four-block-square area and that would change nothing about the economy there and everything about the con.

As for Vegas: Well, here it is…July. And temperatures in that city are expected to hit 111° next week. I shall say no more.

I do not want to go to Anaheim. If you think the traffic and parking are bad in San Diego, try going somewhere three blocks from Disneyland at the peak of tourist season. You know that joke I do every year about how if you want a parking spot for Comic-Con next month, leave now? In Anaheim, I'd have to make it "next year."

And I don't think we will go there. I think San Diego will make a deal and that they'll continue the planned expansion of that fine convention center they have there. Then again, there are those arguing that convention centers around the country, including the one I'm heading to in three weeks, are a foolish waste of taxpayer dollars. Some are campaigning to not expand the place, which might have some effect on the convention's ability/desire to stay.

Recently, a San Diego newspaper ran this article about a new book that argues convention centers are losing propositions for their locales. It's by a gent named Heywood Sanders, described as the nation's ranking expert on convention centers. I'm not sure who ranks such people but the fellow seems to have good credentials.

You'll notice it says in the piece…

When it made its 2013 forecast, San Diego's center claimed that each Comic-Con attendee would spend $613.20. That's absurd, says Sanders, noting that locals make up much of the audience.

That sounds high but not absurd to me. My curiosity is that this year, the convention did not sell four-day passes. Someone who wants to be there all four days had to buy four one-day passes and of course, not everyone could. The hall will be packed every day but I'm wondering if this means we'll have more people who attend at least one day of the con, as opposed to as many who attended all four. (I didn't phrase that well but you know what I'm trying to say.) If so, I'm wondering what this means for the local economy.

I'm also wondering what is a realistic figure of what each Comic-Con attendee spends. Like I said, $613.20 doesn't sound that unreal to me. I know attendees who spend that much to stay at a Motel 6 in Chula Vista for the duration. And you should see what the Best Western is asking near Tony's house in Medina.