Comic-Con 2014 by the numbers

It’s the calm after the Comic-Con. With 130,000 people in town for 5 days, did Comic-Con 2014 live up to all the hype? One restaurant owner likened Monday to the day after Christmas, and as the last vestiges of the pop-culture show are being removed from downtown San Diego, the overall economic impact remains to be seen.

It is a grim reality that Comic-Con 2014 is over: gone are the superheros and 3-D surreal experiences, the stars are back in Hollywood, many of the convention-goers are back in their respective countries and states – but not all.

“Including air fare, hotel, food and souvenirs… about $1,200?” Said Loredo, Texas resident Arianni Becerra of how much Comic-Con 2014 cost her and her friend Erika Flores. The two ladies stayed in town an extra day after saving up for their trip for months and sticking to their budget. Running from panel to panel, there was no time to sit down for a meal they said until Comic-Con was over.

“Pretty much it was yesterday – our sit-down dinner in a restaurant. (We) had a good dinner, then back to the hotel to sleep,” stated Flores.

The average Comic-Conner spends about $600 during their time in San Diego – that’s a lot less per person than other conventioners attending other shows in the city. But others may make up for the reduced cash flow this past weekend.

“A lot of people traveling from all over use this as their honeymoon, or that one big trip every four years. They go all out when they’re here. We see a significant impact throughout the entire region,” commented Jon Lynch of the San Diego Convention Center.

There are other ways the city and its businesses make money: 21 trolley cars becoming rolling ads for TV shows at $10,000 a day. It was a very good week for restaurants like Tin Fish: it was taken over by the TV show Blacklist and it still served food and drink.

“We do three times what we’d do in a normal week in July: get two to three deliveries a day, couple of trash pick ups, go through 65 kegs. I couldn’t tell you how many pounds of fish, but it’s a lot,” said co-owner Mike Brown of Tin Fish.

“They sit at the restaurant so they can watch people walk by. It’s all part of the show: locals want to hang out and be part of the scene,” added co-owner Jerry Levy.

The buzz moved into parts of downtown because the convention center can only hold 130,000 people.

“There are conventions that have never been able to be in San Diego because we haven’t had enough space, and similarly, there are conventions that have already grown out of this facility,” continued Lynch.

That’s why the pending expansion of the convention center is so crucial to keeping super shows like Comic-Con in San Diego past 2016. It was projected 2014’s show would bring in $178 million, and that’s just from the attendees. It was apparent that even more people spent time down in the area this weekend, and the final numbers are expected from Comic-Con International next week.

Categories: KUSI