Comic-Con to stay in San Diego through 2016

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The wildly popular Comic-Con International convention,
which attracts comic book and movie fans from around the world, will be held
at the San Diego Convention Center through 2016, its operators and Mayor Jerry
Sanders announced Monday.

City officials and the organizers of the celebration of pop culture said
they agreed to a one-year extension of their current contract. Details, such
as room rates at area hotels, still need to be worked out, said David Glanzer,
Comic-Con's director of marketing and communications.

Comic-Con, the largest annual attraction in San Diego, draws nearly
130,000 attendees annually and has outgrown the convention center, which
prompted tourism officials from other cities to tempt organizers of the show to
move elsewhere a few years ago. In the last couple of years, the convention has
spread into nearby hotels and parks.

“This plan is working right now,” Glanzer said. “If we can all
continue to work together over the next few years, we should all be happy
campers.”

City officials hope to start construction on an expansion of the center
next year and have it open for business in 2016.

Sanders said Comic-Con turns the Gaslamp Quarter into a “high-tech
Twilight Zone” with great people-watching.

“It's not only an enormous source of pride, it's an enormous source of
revenue for San Diego — for the city, for the hotels, for the shops and for
the restaurants. The economic impact is out of this world,” Sanders said.

The convention pumps $180 million into the local economy and provides
the city of San Diego with $3 million in sales and hotel room tax income,
Sanders said.

That revenue goes directly to city services, like public safety and
library hours, according to Councilwoman Lorie Zapf. The convention center
expansion will allow Comic-Con to host more attendees and conduct more panels,
so there will be more jobs to support them, she said.

Glanzer said the extension was not predicated on the promised expansion,
but the project will be a factor for a subsequent agreement.

The convention was started in 1970 as a modest comic book fair and has
since grown into a premier pop culture extravaganza. It hasn't been determined
when tickets for the general public will go on sale for the 2013 show, but it
won't be until next year, Glanzer said.

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