If you've been to Comic-Con International in San Diego any time recently, you know the score: it's crowded. Way, way crowded, crowded to the extent that it's not even really fun to walk around the exhibit hall because you're constantly ass-to-elbow with an unstoppable crush of people shuffling from one grandiose display advertising an upcoming movie/TV show/video game to another (there are still plenty of comic book publishers and dealers too, but that area isn't as crazy).
Not to mention the lines for various convention programming: if you want to see presentations from upcoming blockbusters like the newest Twilight sequel (and admit it, you do), be prepared to wait for hours in seemingly unending lines. Yet despite being more crowded than the streets of Calcutta, people want to attend more than ever. It's been the country's premier comic convention for decades, but has grown exponentially just in the last few years: four months away from the event, four-day passes have been sold out for months (attendance is capped at around 125,000), and single-day passes are only available for Sunday (and they're about 90 percent gone, according to the official Comic-Con site).
So, the answer seems clear: find a new place to hold the con. But that's easier said than done, given how firmly entrenched the event is in downtown San Diego culture and a lack of destinations that would remedy the space issue. A recent LA Times article revealed that both Anaheim and LA are lobbying to host the mammoth pop culture nerd fest, but we don't think either of those solutions would solve much at all.
1. Too much stuff going on.
Comic-Con complete permeates every pore of downtown San Diego, and people seem to dig it. Walking around the Gaslamp District, there are Comic-Con banners throughout the city, with restaurants and bars catering towards their geeky summer visitors. And all of these businesses are packed with folks carting around their giant bags of merchandise recently acquired at the convention center.
That's simply not possible in Anaheim or LA. Clearly, LA already has its own traffic issues, and there's always so much going on that Comic-Con will never be as closely identified with the city as it is with San Diego. Trying to add an event the size of Comic-Con on top of that just seems like a city planning nightmare worthy of Morpheus of the Endless himself.
The Anaheim Convention Center, of course, is across the street from Disneyland, which is in the midst of his busiest season during Comic-Con's usually time frame (summer); add to that the fact that Comic-Con happens over a weekend. People aren't going to stop going to Disneyland--especially since some seem to think Disneyland is actually a good reason to have Comic-Con there--so how is everyone going to fit?
2. Not enough stuff going on.
Downtown San Diego nightlife isn't the greatest--how many Irish pubs does one place need, exactly?--but it still beats the areas around the Los Angeles and Anaheim convention centers. Downtown LA is spotty at best, with plenty of places closing down early and only chain restaurants like ESPN Zone at LA Live as dubious sure bets. Anaheim relies solely on the nearby Disneyland tourist traps, with relatively little in reasonable walking distance--compared to the number of bars and restaurants (hi, El Dorado and Ciro's) readily available right as you walk out of the con.
3. Not enough room--or rooms--at the other convention centers.
Though both Anaheim and LA convention centers have more overall exhibit space than San Diego (though, as the Times article notes, San Diego is looking at expansion), neither of them put the same kind of emphasis on meeting rooms, where Comic-Con's all-important programming and panels are held. There's especially nothing comparable to the San Diego Convention Center's 6,500-capacity Hall H, where the biggest media events are held. Sure, LA could try to use nearby facilities like the Nokia Theater, but would those places want to hold free con events instead of for-profit shows booked on their own?
4. Not enough hotels.
This is a pretty simple one. As referenced in the Times article, there are 2,000 hotel rooms in walking distance of the LA Convention Center, and 4,500 for Anaheim. San Diego? 7,000. Kind of seems like a dealbreaker right there.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
5. Nerds hate change.
It's cliche, but true. See: any time any single thing happens to change a comic book character's status quo, or when a comic character's powers or origin or costume are changed for a film adaptation. Move Comic-Con out of San Diego after 40 years? Revenge of the nerds, indeed.