SAN DIEGO (CN) – San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, facing a 2018 deadline, announced Friday the Comic-Con International convention has extended its agreement to host the popular event in San Diego by three years, keeping it in San Diego through 2021.
The city and Comic-Con negotiated for more than a year, bringing the San Diego Tourism Authority, the San Diego Convention Center and local hotels to the table to secure additional hotel rooms and space to host the more than 130,000 attendees who flock to the comic, entertainment and pop culture event every July.
San Diego’s largest annual convention is estimated to bring in $135 million regionally and $2.8 million in tax revenues for the city, according to the mayor’s office.
The announcement comes after the San Diego City Council handed Faulconer a loss in fast-tracking a much-needed expansion of the convention center, which Comic-Con has said it needs if the city wants to keep the convention in town permanently.
The council voted earlier this month against holding a special election this November so voters could weigh in on a proposed ballot measure by Faulconer to raise the city’s tourism tax to raise funds for a convention center expansion as well as road repairs and programs to tackle the city’s growing homelessness crisis. Faulconer’s proposal would add hundreds of thousands of square feet to the convention center which would create enough capacity to hold more than 50 additional events a year.
Delays and deferred maintenance have increased project costs to expand the venue by millions, according to the mayor’s office.
A proposal to develop the Los Angeles Chargers’ old stadium – Qualcomm Stadium – was also queued up to join the mayor’s initiative on a ballot this fall.
But the council’s no vote to the special election means the tourism tax and Qualcomm measures will be put off until November 2018.
Despite the vote’s postponement, the mayor reiterated his commitment Thursday to expanding the venue as soon as possible.
“It is more important than ever that we continue to push to expand the convention center so we can ensure Comic-Con and other large conventions continue to stay in San Diego for years to come,” Faulconer said in a statement.
Comic-Con kicks off with a preview night July 19 and runs through Sunday, July 23. It is the longest continuously-run comics and popular arts convention in the United States.