Comic-Con's demise is an issue of size - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Comic-Con's demise is an issue of size

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - The San Diego Convention Center looks like a ghost town compared to the last four days, as the Comic-Con leaves town.

But as crews remove leftover signs and clean up trash, Comic-Con board members are mulling over whether or not the convention will stay in America's Finest City after 2012.

"The truth of the matter is the space that we have now just isn't adequate," says Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer.

He says the limited amount of space prevents fans from being able to attend. In addition, he adds the number of displays and vendors is critically affected by the shortage of floor space.

"This year we had to turn away over 400 exhibitors and those are people who want to be at the event who just can't," says Glanzer.

There was an attempt to gain space by making some nearby arrangements with the Marriott Hotel and the Hilton Bay Front Hotel to use any and all convention space available in their buildings.

"That worked pretty well this year," explains Glanzer. "That may continue if we continue that trend."

Comic-Con has had its critics over the past several years. Some say the convention has allowed Hollywood to move in and take over. Others say that Comic-Con can only be so big and that organizers should figure out when enough is enough.

"You can have too much of a good thing, " admits Glanzer. "Do we want infinite space? No!"

He adds that Hollywood has allowed them to garner more money to offset costs and that many of the Comic-Con fans enjoy seeing the stars of their favorite movies and shows.

For now the popular pop-culture event will stay in San Diego through 2012. However, no one knows for sure what will happen following the end of the contract.

Board members are currently sorting through the proposals from the City of Anaheim, Los Angeles, and San Diego to determine the best location for the convention's future. Glanzer says it's difficult because they each have their pluses and minuses.

"Anaheim has a great deal of space and meeting rooms," he explains. "Los Angeles has space, hotels are a little bit further out."

Glanzer would not say specifically how much more square footage is needed to make them happy.  There is an expansion plan in the works that would increase the square footage of the San Diego Convention Center, but it wouldn't be done until 2015 and that's only if all the hurdles are jumped to move the project forward. In the end it would still be about 200,000 square feet shy of the final square footage of the Anaheim Convention Center once their expansion is complete in 2013.

Los-Angeles' Convention Center also trails behind Anaheim, but city officials there boast the ability to use the L.A. Live entertainment complex, Nokia Theatre, and Staples Center to help with space.

Many Comic-Con fans we spoke to say they prefer to have the entire event under one roof. But in the end if Comic-Con organizers don't put a cap on the number of exhibitors and attendees, that may never be a possibility no matter which city hosts the convention.

Part of the negotiations right now also entail fair pricing among hotels and making sure there are enough rooms available (blocked out) for Comic-Con attendees.

"We certainly don't want to price them out of the market here, so if we can work out an agreement then that would help," explains Glanzer. "If they can't afford to stay here or if there isn't space to put them in rooms it's not going to work."

Meanwhile, demand continues to grow. Tickets for preview night for 2011 Comic-Con are already sold out.

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