Counting down the days to Comic-Con International: San Diego we again get to ponder the idea of seeing the greatest of all Cons moved to another venue. Each year there's rising speculation the venue will be moved as numbers of fans in attendance continue to grow. San Diego is getting pushed to its limits and now ticket sales are selling out in record times, under 2 hours for the weekend passes. A business that is in high demand and limited in production needs to increase production, and in this case needs to produce more space. San Diego is clearly not going to be the long term solution and in Comic-Con International's best overall interest.
San Diego simply cannot house the number of fans who would like to attend, and even worse, there are troubling limitations to Hotel choices surrounding the area. The area is simply not ready or able to house the fans in many capacities. Parking is horrible and often expensive and inconvenient. Some parking lots have time restrictions that require fans to leave their precious Hall H or another event in order to renew their temporary parking permit. The best parking deals require a walk across the city or an expensive bike taxi ride and then back again when you're ready to leave.
I remember the days Comic-Con was still highly accessible for those who wanted to go, and while many of the problems are related to other Hollywood projects coming to the Con rather than comic book or sci-fi related nerdery, it's not nearly as accessible anymore for many of those in which the Con was designed for. Now we see an influx of casual fans and their families, which is fine, but if the true, most hardcore nerds are being held out, it's time to expand. Why limit the amount of people who can come into the event like this? Things would be different if the venue moved. Sure, nostalgia wants me to see it remain at San Diego, but I'm tired of forking out these high costs and discomforts just because of nostalgia.
Unless I am wrong, I cannot find an article implying a contract has been signed beyond 2016. I've been reading that the contract is up after next year in San Diego. I know San Diego will do all they can to keep the Con from leaving their city, as they currently have a fortunate financial partnership that comes close to the profits seen for cities who host the Super Bowl. Sure the city would love to hang onto that. The problem is simply the limitations of the city. So where would there be better locations?
Los Angeles doesn't have a convention center to rival the one built specifically for the Con in San Diego. While San Diego would love to see the Con stay, the discussions of building or expanding to fit Comic Con in San Diego, costs $520 million and lost momentum after last year's Con ended. The momentum lost was a large issue because the state of California ruled against the plan which would give decision making powers to Hotels around the convention center and not the voters. The Mayor, Kevin Foulconer has pledged himself to finding alternate means of financing, but without any serious or significant news since the state court ruling, hope is limited.
San Diego is certainly a mess right now, and with both the home of Comic-Con and the home of their NFL team the Chargers both in jeopardy at the same time, is cause for concern. The city cannot currently finance both to stay, and will likely only be able to keep one. Comic Con International will cost more and generate less overall consistency to their city financially, but draws a far larger international and media presence.
The potential landing spots for Comic-Con International include: Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Las Vegas is San Diego doesn't retain their contract. So which venue is best for fans and their experience? Well let's talk about that a bit.
Los Angeles's convention center is just over 720,000 square feet, one of the largest in the United States, but almost 2,000,000 square feet smaller than San Diego's. The commuting around in Los Angeles presents another problem that would also be worse than San Diego's. Los Angeles also has a highly inconvenient and popular airport, while it offers a ton of flight options, it's not a convenient airport at all.
Anaheim's convention center is larger than it's neighboring Los Angeles convention center but still less than half the size of San Diego's at 1,145,000 square feet. Anaheim is more convenient to get to than the other two with more options of larger parking lots, but the Hotels are a bit limited around the area, and with Disneyland across the street, Hotels are already more costly than they should be.
Las Vegas is the best choice. Las Vegas has numerous offers to Comic-Con International to build a fully funded convention center specifically for the Con. Offering a larger venue than San Diego has, easy commuting in the area, endless and affordable Hotel choices, and dirt cheap flights. It's perfect. I think it's still conveniently located for those in California who would like to vacation for the week and the city offers a ton of entertainment options after the Con ends each day. The current Las Vegas convention center is 3,200,000 square feet, much larger than San Diego's.
Los Angeles has less than 5,000 hotel rooms within a mile of their convention center, San Diego has 11,000, Anaheim has 13,000, and Las Vegas has over 125,000. That's more than enough to house a single fan in their own room for the entire fan population attending the Con in San Diego.