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San Diego Comic-Con to Go Virtual Again for 2021

Smaller in-person convention could take place in November

San Diego Comic-Con will go virtual again for this summer’s event, with a smaller event a possibility for November.

Comic-Con International, which puts on both Comic-Con and its sister event, WonderCon, announced the decision Monday morning. Last month it said that WonderCon would also go virtual for its April event.

San Diego Comic-Con@Home will take place July 23-25.

“While we are buoyed by the rollout of the vaccine and the growing number of individuals being inoculated, it appears that July will still be too early to safely hold an in-person event of the magnitude of Comic-Con,” the organization wrote. “While we lament the postponement of the in-person Comic-Con, our commitment to this community of fans and our celebration of comics and the related popular arts endures as an important part of who we are.”

Those who purchased badges in 2020 that were rolled over to 2021 will now have those rolled over to next year’s event.

The group is in the early planning stages of some kind of smaller, in-person event for November. “At this time, we are still working on specific details as to attendance capacity, badge cost, and related information, and those details will be forthcoming,” the organization said.

Last year’s Comic-Con@Home featured three days of pre-taped Zoom panels and other content. It also came at a massive cost to the non-profit organization that puts on the yearly event. San Diego Comic-Con typically draws 135,000 comic book fans to Southern California every July.

“We knew that by postponing the spring show and not having the summer show that, in effect, we’re going to have no income for 2020,” David Glanzer, Comic-Con international chief communications and strategy officer, told TheWrap last year. “That’s really scary. We have enough of a safety net still that we always thought that, should something catastrophic happen, we’d be able to weather it and have enough resources to put together a show for the following year. But I don’t think we ever thought that we would have to cancel two shows.”

The financial impact even extended to the city of San Diego, which also went an entire year without fans in attendance for San Diego Padres games. According to the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, the city was projecting a regional impact of more than $166 million, including almost $100 million in total spending by attendees, which includes hotels, restaurants and other city attractions. Hollywood studios that are promoting the launch of a new film or TV show often hold activities outside the center and other venues. Those studios usually hire local companies to help.

Comic-Con also generates more than $3 million in taxes for the city.

See the full Comic-Con statement below.