Economic loss from canceling in-person Comic-Con exceeds $160 million

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Comic Con is all-virtual this year. Even though fans can still get a flavor of the pop culture convention through their computers, there’s no replacement for the tax dollars generated by San Diego’s largest convention.

The President and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center said the absence of an in-person convention means the loss of $166 million to the local economy.

Some of the money is in restaurant and retail sales, while a portion of the total comes from sales and hotel occupancy taxes. Those tax receipts help the City of San Diego pay for municipal services such as public safety, neighborhood libraries and parks.

Because of the Coronavirus, the San Diego Convention Center has lost 100 shows that were scheduled to take place between March and November.

Nowhere is the economic impact more apparent than in the restaurants around the Convention Center. With no indoor service allowed, restaurants like La Puerta are trying to woo diners to their patios in the street.

Now, with a double whammy, the loss of Comic-Con, restaurant owner Merritte Powell said sales are dismal. He’s bringing in just 5 percent of what he was making at this time last year.

Not everyone stayed away.  Outside the Convention Center, we stumbled on Chad Evett and Stephanie Shulman, who were all decked out in costumes for Comic-Con, even if there was no convention for them to attend.

Evett, who’s been to 15 Comic Cons said he couldn’t miss the annual trip to San Diego. The pair drove down from Los Angeles.

“This is the first costume I ever wore at Comic-Con, so it seemed like a cathartic thing to do, to kind of come down, and sort of say ‘hi,” Evett said.

The visitors from Los Angeles promised to spend money on a take-out dinner from a locally owned restaurant in San Diego.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local San Diego News