Yesterday the mayor of San Diego proudly announced that Comic Con would remain in the city for two more years until 2018. Originally SDCC’s deal with the city would’ve expired after this year’s convention. While most people are praising this deal, for those who have experienced the crowded hell of SDCC it’s not a good thing for the con experience.
People know it but don’t want to realize or acknowledge that the San Diego Convention Center simply is no longer big enough for the number of people that want to go to SDCC. Over the last decade the convention has just become worse and worse with the crowds. I have friends now who honestly don’t care if they get tickets every year because it’s just become too crowded to be able to enjoy yourself. When more people want to go into a space than there’s room for them, there’s a problem. Comic Con International should think more of the guest experience than the publicity big crowds give them, but this deal just shows they don’t care.
Obviously the biggest problem at San Diego Comic Con is Hall H, and again that comes down to a space problem and a problem of more people wanting in than the hall could fit. That’s why some people will spend 12 hours in line for Hall H and never get in. That hall can hold about 5,000-6,000 people, and it’s filled to capacity all day on Fridays and Saturdays. If San Diego had a larger facility they could fit more people into Hall H and less people would waste their day trying to get in and be able to actually enjoy the convention where they paid $200 just for a ticket.
Disney holds their D23 Expo in Anaheim every two years and their big showcase hall (now called Hall D23) holds 7,500 people. That’s only 2,500 more than Hall H at San Diego Comic Con, but it’s also 2,500 people who would otherwise waste a whole day trying to get into Hall H and never even see the inside.
The other problem is the exhibit floor where all the merchandise and exclusives are. You simply can not walk on that floor on Saturday as there are so many people it’s one mass herd without any walking space:
I fear the day there’s a fire at Comic Con on a Saturday, because all those people will die in that exhibit floor.
San Diego has been trying to expand their convention center for years, but it keeps hitting roadblocks. Other major cities in Southern California have more room, such as Anaheim and Los Angeles, but Comic Con was dumb enough to keep the show in a too small convention center. Even Anaheim is spending a huge sum of money to expand their convention center to be even bigger than it already is. That’s why Comic Con International is moving WonderCon to LA for one year in order for the Anaheim center to be renovated.
That’s what they should do with San Diego Comic Con. If the city of San Diego can promise them that they can get the expansion done, then move the convention to a different city (like Los Angeles or Anaheim) for just one year in order for the convention center to be fixed. Otherwise Comic Con has to leave San Diego to restore it to the enjoyable glory it was a decade ago.