In an unprecedented move, Comic-Con International has canceled the annual San Diego Comic-Con due the coronavirus outbreak, organizers announced on Friday. It’s the first time the event won’t happen as planned in its 50-year history.
This year’s Comic-Con was originally scheduled to take place between July 23-26. The event will instead return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021.
“For the first time in its 50-year history San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), the organizers behind the annual pop culture celebration, announced today with deep regret, that there will be no Comic-Con in 2020,” organizers said in a statement to TheWrap.
The cancellation is likely to have a serious economic impact on the city of San Diego. In 2019, more than 135,000 people attended the event, a figure that doesn’t include participants in numerous unofficial, offsite events who did not secure badges to the actual convention. According to the San Diego tourism board, the weeklong event annually generates about $90 million for the city and $150 million regionally.
The San Diego Comic Convention (Comic-Con International) is a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation organized for charitable purposes and dedicated to creating the general public’s awareness of and appreciation for comics and related popular art forms, including participation in and support of public presentations, conventions, exhibits, museums and other public outreach activities which celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture. It was originally founded as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970 and was later called the “San Diego Comic Book Convention.”
It is a four-day event (Thursday-Sunday) held during the summer (in July since 2003) at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego. Programming events, games, anime, the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival and the Eisner Awards all take place outside of the Convention Center, creating a campus-type feel for the convention in downtown San Diego.
The cancelation of Comic-Con follows a wave of cancellations across all forms of entertainment and sports, including several conventions like CinemaCon in Las Vegas and Wondercon, which takes place in Anaheim.