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Comic-Con’s Impact In San Diego

How a pop culture event is generating revenue for a city


What's going on?

Every year, San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is populated by fans celebrating pop culture and the entertainment industry – all for the sake of Comic-Con. With international media outlets covering the annual convention, this is one filled with buzz and is regularly attended by more than 135,000 comic fans. The buzz does translate into profit as San Diego benefits financially with the Comic-Con generating a $147 million regional impact in 2018 alone. This year in 2019, it was estimated to reach $149 million – growing from the year before.


According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, attendees of Comic-Con spent about $88 million during the four-day event. Hotels and other businesses around San Diego also benefited as the event generated about $3 million worth of tax revenue for the city within the period alone. CEO of Guidestar, Jacob Harold mentioned that the convention had a 15% increase in growth year over year for the past 17 years. With its steady rise in popularity, Comic-Con’s ticket prices have also increased with more offerings. This year, an all-week pass including a Wednesday preview cost about $291 which includes a $7.50 handling fee per person.


Despite the rising ticket prices for Comic-Con, fans are still attending the event religiously year after year. Experts believe that pop culture connects these fans together, and Comic-Con offers a place for them to connect through the things they relate to in the media and entertainment industry. Additionally, media companies see this as an avenue to make money and further build their fan base. Ultimately, it is the sense of belonging that makes so many fans willing to spend their time money and energy.


The extraordinary power of Comic-Con and pop culture