San Diego sweetens the deal to keep Comic-Con

cci-sizedWith a decision on the future home of longtime San Diego fixture Comic-Con due within weeks, the city is sweetening the deal to keep the event it has hosted for more than 40 years.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that city fathers are offering half a million dollars in hotel tax revenue over five years to compensate organizers for the cost of shuttling attendees around the four-day convention.

As mentioned in February, Comic-Con is seeking a new venue because it’s a victim of its own success, drawing huge crowds from around the world that have overwhelmed the San Diego Convention Center and led to ticket sales caps. Four-day and one-day passes for this year’s July 22-25 event are already sold out.

Los Angeles and Anaheim are courting Comic-Con organizers pretty aggressively — and well they should, with 126,000 people who need to eat, sleep and fill up their gas tanks. Ka-ching!

Meanwhile, our homegrown Phoenix Comicon keeps getting bigger and bigger as well. The Memorial Day Weekend event, billing itself as “the signature pop-culture event of the Southwest,” has outgrown its digs in downtown Mesa and this year moves to the Phoenix Convention Center and Hyatt Regency, tripling the space and gaining access to the Valley’s Metro light-rail system. Phoenix Comicon started in 2002 with 432 attendees and last year, in 2009, reported attendance of more than 7,000.

A friend of mine recently interviewed Phoenix Comicon convention director Matt Solberg for the Valley podcasting sensation The Andrew Long Show — listen for the interview this weekend at andrewlongshow.com!

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