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SDCC 2023: How much impact does San Diego Comic-Con have on San Diego the city?

Comic-Con International: San Diego is a pretty big deal to San Diego, it turns out

San Diego
Image credit: San Diego Convention Center

Sure, it’s an event that’s a must-see for pop culture fans every summer, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a fair question to ask: Just how important is San Diego Comic-Con to San Diego the city?

According to the San Diego Convention Center, conventions generated around $1.2 billion for the local economy in 2022, bringing more than 500,000 people to the city, and somewhere in the region of $693.2 million in direct attendee spending, and around $27.9 million in terms of hotel and sales tax revenue to the city of San Diego. The event with the biggest economic impact from the whole year? Last year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

“The annual Comic-Con event attracts more than 135,000 estimated attendees over four days, producing a regional economic impact of more than $160 million and generating more than $3 million in hotel and sales tax revenues for the City of San Diego,” the San Diego Tourism Authority said in a statement provided to Popverse. “Those tax revenues support the core city services our communities need.”

For those wondering what regional economic impact actually means, it’s basically the amount spent by visitors during the length of SDCC. As the Tourism Authority explained, “Hotels, restaurants, attractions, AV companies, printers, designers, photographers, transportation providers, caterers, grocery stores, dry cleaners, and gas stations are just some of the businesses that see increased activity during conventions like Comic-Con.”

(For those wondering, $160 million in regional economic impact for 135,000 estimated attendees means that the average attendee spending is around $1185.)

Let’s look back at the overall 2022 numbers as provided by the Convention Center, however; if SDCC brought in more than $160 million last year, and the overall intake was around $1.2 billion, that means that SDCC represents 7.5% of the entire year’s revenue. At around 135,000 attendees against “more than 500,000 people” being brought to the city, it’s bringing in a quarter of those people; generating more than $3 million in hotel and sales tax revenue to the city for a year when $27.9 million was the total means that more than 10% of the revenue comes from the five-day stretch of San Diego Comic-Con alone.

Bearing all this in mind, it’s safe to say that the answer to the question of just how important San Diego Comic-Con is to the city of San Diego is, “actually, very important.” No wonder the city makes such a big deal out of the event every year.

San Diego Comic-Con runs July 19 through July 23 at the San Diego Convention Center. Popverse will be there for the whole thing, sharing everything from the very start of the show until the very end.

Wondering what to expect from this year’s SDCC? We’ve got some answers for you.