Comic Conventions Today
A stormtrooper, a Spider-Man, and a Harley Quinn walk into a bar … which means it must be Comic-Con season.
The popularity of comic conventions, particularly San Diego’s, has skyrocketed since their inception in 1970. Comic-Cons offer a way to unify people of all walks of life in their shared interests of comic books, anime, film, science fiction and fantasy genres, and so much more. Throughout these conventions, fans can meet with other fans, cosplay, meet celebrities, and attend panels — you know, just like Simpleview Summit!
These conventions present an opportunity for local hospitality sectors to cater to these growing fan bases, generating significant revenue. Though the attendees greatly benefit from the panels, vendors, and camaraderie, Comic conventions are a boon in economic expansion for local tourism industries.
The San Diego Comic-Con, the largest comic convention in the world:
- Brought 135,000 people to San Diego in 2019, resulting in a colossal impact for restaurants, hotels, and other businesses.
- When the in-person event had to be canceled because of the pandemic in 2020, the president and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) said it translated into a loss of $166 million for the local economy.
San Diego plays host to:
- 34 million visitors annually, according figures from the San Diego Tourism Authority
- Over $700 million in state and local tax revenue.
- Last year, San Diego’s convention center saw about 553,000 individuals total, meaning that SDCC generates more than a quarter of the year’s traffic by itself.
- Attendees from 80 countries
If you use a tool like MINT+, an industry collaborative database, you’re able to access a vault of meeting intelligence (bookings and histories) that is shared by over 150 DMOs and enhanced with additional data sources. Accessing “Comic” conventions and viewing hotel data, room flow, exhibits and other data, will reveal a wealth of information about why comic-cons are great events for a destination.
MINT+ can show you how other destinations are being impacted by this phenomenon. The annual New York Comic-Con brings more than $100 million to the local economy. Even relatively smaller conventions, such as Phoenix Fan Fusion (formerly Phoenix Comic-Con), make a huge economic impact; this convention brings in more than $5 million each year.
Even for those who are unable to secure tickets to San Diego’s International Comic-Con, there is plenty to do outside the convention center. Many people simply gather in the Gaslamp Quarter to people-watch and take part in related festivities. During San Diego Comic-Con, many associated events are held off-site, in venues such as Petco Park, separate hotel ballrooms, parks, and rooftop bars.
The San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, its merchants, and all downtown businesses experience “a great financial and economic boost,” said Michael Trimble, executive director of the Gaslamp Quarter Association.
Even the anticipated impact of the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park is significant. The museum, which opened in November, 2021 whose main focus is bringing diverse audiences together for shared, vibrant experiences, is estimated to bring in a minimum of 100,000 international annual visitors with revenue to match.
Surely the lesson here isn’t to try and compete with 50 years of San Diego Comic-Con. Rather, it’s to take notice of the potential benefits, big or small, of allowing fans to come together and celebrate pop culture.