San Diego Comic-Con Tops San Diego Convention Center ‘Regional Impact’ List (Again)

Convention Center Sails Pavilion Outside Doors PatioSan Diego Comic-Con is a booming business — and not just for Comic-Con International.

Every year, the four-and-a-half-day convention brings jobs, tourists, and spending money not just to the convention center itself — but to the businesses and hotels around San Diego, in a big way (after all, attendees have to eat and shower somewhere — though sleeping in an actual bed is optional). So big, in fact, that SDCC has once again topped the San Diego Convention Center Corporation’s annual report as the convention center’s largest event, generating $140 million in economic impact to the region.

That’s an increase of $4.1 million from the 2015 fiscal year — though it should be noted that the Convention Center’s fiscal years runs from July of the previous year to June, meaning that since Comic-Con falls in July, we’re actually comparing SDCC 2015 to SDCC 2014. Comic-Con 2016 won’t appear on the fiscal report until next fall. Confused yet?

What’s not confusing, though, is that Comic-Con is a huge tourism boon for the city of San Diego. Combined, the Convention Center’s 158 events (which includes SDCC) generated $1.1 billion in economic impact – which means that Comic-Con’s $140 million is responsible for 12.73% of the total economic impact. The next largest contributor, LIGHTFAIR International, generated only $70.7 million — or 6.42% of the total economic impact.

Traditionally, the Convention Center follows this annual report up with a forecast for the following year with a more in-depth look at the profile of SDCC attendees — so keep an eye out for that next month. For now, though, here’s a general overview of the average Convention Center attendee for all 158 of their events:

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With SDCC’s current contract with the San Diego Convention Center only set through 2018, and lots of recent setbacks in any expansion plan, findings like this one are important for helping to prove to to San Diego at large that Comic-Con is worth fighting for.

You can read the full study on the San Diego Convention Center’s site.

Are you surprised by any of this information? Let us know in the comments.

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site’s resident panel guru.

  • Carl Hossli

    I wonder, and it will be interesting to see if the Chargers apparently moving to L.A. will make it easier to expand the San Diego Convention center, especially the main exhibit hall. The time to plan is now – and not just for Comic-con, but for other major conventions. I mean San Diego is a major vacation destination and conventions can contribute mightily to the local economy.

    I mention exhibit hall space, because according to one site (Wikipedia) the exhibit space in San Diego trails Los Angeles and Anaheim. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_convention_centers_in_the_United_States#By_size