In a report yesterday by Lori Weisberg of the San Diego Union-Tribune, both event organizers and San Diego city officials indicated that San Diego Comic-Con would likely make a cancelation announcement in the very near future.
SDCC organizer David Glanzer said that they are still weighing their options, but hope to make an announcement very soon. One of those options would be to host parts of the convention online. The primary concern, however, appears to be the substantial financial obligations that still need to be navigated and resolved if the convention is officially canceled.
San Diego Tourism Authority chief executive Joe Terzi indicated as much, stating:
“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.”
In an email to SDCC hotel partners, the Tourism Authority asked for assurances that cancelation fees/penalties would be waived if this year’s convention is unable to proceed due to ongoing COVID-19 social distancing requirements. Terzi said that the majority of hotels have responded and agreed to the request. Now it’s simply a matter of waiting for the few remaining properties that haven’t responded to do so.
While San Diego Comic Con is far from the only event the city would miss out on this year due to COVID-19, it would definitely have the biggest financial impact. The convention generates nearly $150 million annually for the region’s vital tourism economy.
Even though I’ve never been lucky enough to score a ticket, it’ll be a huge disappointment to not be able to follow along with all the exciting news SDCC generates every summer. That being said, it seems very unlikely that our country’s recovery from COVID-19 will be at a point in July where cramming 135,000 people into a convention center is feasible.
Thankfully, it does appear that there will be portions of SDCC 2020 able to take place online. If that happens, then we can all watch them together while hopefully celebrating a gradual return to normalcy by this fall.