Comic-Con to Stay in San Diego for 2 More Years: Mayor | NBC Bay Area

Comic-Con to Stay in San Diego for 2 More Years: Mayor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two more years for the pop culture convention in San Diego, thanks to an agreement announced Thursday. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports. (Published Thursday, July 2, 2015)

    The costumed characters and superheroes of make-believe will be roaming downtown San Diego a while longer.

    On Thursday, organizers of San Diego's largest and most celebrated convention announced it’s here to stay through 2018.

    That came after what Comic-Con officials called "touch and go" bargaining with downtown hoteliers over jacked-up room rates that had challenged the budgets of the event's faithful followers.

    "The hotel community really believes it has pricing power when there's demand, and that's not unusual,” says Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi. “But they've been really good at recognizing the customer of Comic-Con, and that's what Comic-Con's concern was -- 'We don't want to price ourselves of that market'."

    Voice of San Diego editor Scott Lewis told NBC 7 the same scenario figures to materialize in the next round of negotiations:

    "This is capitalism, right?” Lewis asked, rhetorically, in an interview Thursday. “They're going to charge for their hotel rooms the most that they can. So unless a regulatory force steps in and says 'You have to, for the good of the civic cause, lower your prices for this convention that comes in every year', there's still going to be a problem from year to year."

    Another perennial sticking point -- the undersized Convention's Center's crowded confines -- have become less of a problem, at least through 2018.

    In recent years, off-site venues offered by nearby hotels have created a festive 'campus' atmosphere, sort of a 'moveable feast'.

    But the inescapable issue of how and where to expand the center is the focus of a city report later this month.

    Says Terzi: “It will, I think, reinforce what was said before, that if you're going to expand the center, it needs to be contiguous to the building to maximize the functionality."

    Whatever the outcome, Comic-Con only figures to keep growing.

    Stars of Comic-Con 2014Stars of Comic-Con 2014

    A logical conclusion?

    More hotels are needed.

    "We book up the entire downtown with Comic-Con and with other conventions -- not just Comic-Con,” says Convention Center board member Gil Cabrera. “So it is something we're going to be wanting to look at, and hopefully there'll be other folks building hotels and more rooms coming online in the future."