Photo By Emmanuel Gomez
This past weekend LRMOnline and many other outlets should have been filled with coverage from this year’s WonderCon in Anaheim, California. Thousands of writers, artists, actors and vendors come together to promote their pop culture goods. For me this would have been my eighth year in a row attending the show. Beyond the booths and panels it’s a time that I got to see many of my friends to talk about all things pop culture and life in general.
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Unfortunately (I know we are beating a dead horse at this point) the current pandemic we are living through forced the Comic-Con International to postpone WonderCon until further notice. The scary thing about our situation is that currently there is no end in sight as numbers of people who have contracted the virus just keeps going up. Meaning that our stay at home orders that a lot of our country is under will continue until we can “flatten the curve”. So this raises the question, after having our spring canceled, is our summer next? More specifically, could Comic-Con be postponed or even canceled? I cringe at the thought.
Via The San Diego Union-Tribune, we have some information about the grim reality of our disappearing convention season. They are reporting that the San Diego Convention Center so far has canceled over 20 large meetings over March through June. This is costing San Diego over $203 million in revenue. This includes hotels, restaurants, bars and other businesses in the area. They report that it’s a regionwide economic impact hit of $345 million. The San Diego Tourism Authority is calculating that normal times would have brought in over 170,000 people during those months. That translates into over 220,000 hotel room nights and $7 million in room tax revenue. Ouch!
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So what about Comic-Con? This is San Diego’s biggest convention of the year. It’s over 135,000 attendees who fill San Diego’s hotel rooms. It seems that every year the event grows farther out from the San Diego Convention Center. With FOX, NBC, Amazon Prime Video and many other hosting activations around the area that don’t require SDCC badges. This brings in even more people that cannot be counted. Even if we get back to “normal” sometime in May or June, would it be smart to put together that many people in such a small space?
Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi commented on the status of Comic-Con. “They are evaluating any financial liability they might have with a cancellation, and once they determine that, they’ll make a decision. Based on our knowledge of the event, it will be very difficult for them to have that event in July. With other events you could do things to keep people separate, but Comic-Con is a whole different animal, it’s a massive sea of people.”
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As much as I want would love to attend my fourth Comic-Con, the health and safety of everyone take priority. The number of people inside and out would be impossible to keep at all distant. Although there would be a lot of people all for it, there may be a lot of publishers and studios that wouldn’t feel comfortable sending their talent and employees to an event like that so soon.
Another thing to keep in mind is that those same studios and publishers have also paused their work during this time doing very minimal work. Films have been delayed until the late fall or even next year. I would think that they would need more time to put together announcements and to showcase their upcoming work. I think the best-case scenario would be for Comic-Con International to put on an event in the fall. But first things first… let’s all do our part to stay safe and help contain this virus.
Do you think Comic-Con will be canceled? If so what alternative plans should they make? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune