Editor's note: This story was updated Nov. 1 to include comments from San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Joe Turzi.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced Monday that Comic-Con International officials have extended their commitment to host the show in the city for one more year, through 2016.
The extra year may give city officials a little more time to obtain financing for what is expected to be a $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. The expansion, among other things, is an effort to keep Comic-Con in San Diego after its current contract expires in 2015.
“We were concerned we might be in jeopardy of having them look elsewhere,” says San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Joe Turzi.
While city officials have approved the expansion, its legality remains a question. Hotel owners, rather than the general population, voted to enact a room tax to fund the expansion. In addition, according to the plan, the hoteliers would get a share of the revenue to market the destination and their properties. San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmlith has filed suit to verify the legitimacy of the actions. (For more on the San Diego Convention Center controversy, see the November/December issue of EXPO Magazine.)
Nevertheless, Turzi says, “We hope to have shovels in the ground next year and the expansion open in 2016.”
San Diego Comic-Con dates back to 1970 when it began as a comic book event in one meeting room of one hotel. This year, more than 130,000 attendees filled not only the San Diego Convention Center but also dozens of nearby hotels.
In 2010, Los Angeles and Anaheim tried to woo the show to their cities. Comic-Con International officials decided at the time to stick with San Diego, with the understanding that a convention center expansion was likely in the works as well.
“They have been clear that they want to stay in San Diego,” Turzi says.
San Diego Comic-Con will next be held July 18-21, 2013.