Comic-Con could move to Anaheim
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s State of the City speech last week left the Chargers disappointed and perhaps turning their attention to exercising their annual escape clause.
The city is now facing a similar situation with Comic-Con. It’s contract with the city runs out in 2016, and now the possibility of losing both Comic-Con and the Chargers is becoming a real possibility.
As the clock ticks, both of these issues are now mired in the process rather than some sort of action to show progress.
San Diego’s pride, image, and prestige are on the line. The question remains if the city is willing to give up its football team, and its most lucrative convention.
“There is anxiety, they’re trying to hold it down. Comic-Con’s really important, 130,000 attendees, $180 million a year into the local economy,” said Tony Perry.
Tony Perry is the San Diego Bureau Chief for the L.A. Times, and he said both Anaheim and Los Angeles are seeing San Diego in political paralysis, and are ready to pounce.
“They want to swoop in and woo and win Comic-Con, our biggest and most lucrative convention,” he said.
Ironically, registration opened Wednesday for Wonder-Con, Comic-Con International’s 2015 venue in Anaheim.
Anaheim is telling Comic-Con they have what San Diego lacks.
“You’ve outgrown San Diego, and they can’t seem to expand their Convention Center which is what you need,” said Perry.
Comic-Con’s contract in San Diego runs out next year. The courts struck down the city’s financing plan for expanding the Convention Center which Comic-Con has said it needs to stay in San Diego.
Joe Terzi, the Chief Executive of the city’s Tourism Authority told Perry he is confident Comic-Con will sign up again for two more years.
“I was surprised when he said how soon. We’re going in a month, maybe, have a deal to extend Comic-Con’s contract for 2017, 2018. That surprised me. I said, lets make sure I’m listening to it right. He repeated it, and he didn’t walk it back,” said Perry.
If that negotiation fails, it would set up a nightmare scenario for San Diego.
Both Comic-Con and the Chargers stadium are in limbo, and both could be gone next year because the city has not found a way to keep them.
“Pick the Chargers proposal, you annoy Comic-Con presumably. Pick the Comic-Con proposal, and you annoy the Chargers. Now you could then take either proposal to the voters and you could lose,” said Perry.
San Diegans do not want to increase taxes on themselves, or others.
Mayor Faulconer has a tough call. After all, he campaigned on being a leader who will get things done.
“He’s the first mayor to at least hitch up his pants and say its’ going to happen on my watch, one way or another,” said Perry.
The mayor’s re-election next year could depend on how he resolves the two issues at hand.