San Diego Comic-Con canceled due coronavirus pandemic

A sign photographed from outside the annual San Diego Comic-Con International at the San Diego Convention Center on Sunday July 15th, 2012 in San Diego, California.


For the first time in 50 years, San Diego Comic-Con has been canceled.

Organizers behind the annual event announced Friday that the pop culture celebration would no longer occur in July due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The show will return in 2021.

“Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision,” David Glanzer, a spokesman for the organization, said in a statement.

The organization said Gov. Gavin Newsom had made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with the convention this year.

“The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine,” Newsom said during a press briefing Tuesday. “So large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers altogether across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations.”

Although not the largest comic convention in the U.S., San Diego Comic-Con, often called SDCC, is one of the most prestigious in the entertainment world. Here Hollywood unveils new projects, teases upcoming films and announces new cast members to hit shows and movie franchises.

Each year around 135,000 attendees pass through the San Diego Convention Center over the course of the four-day convention.

San Diego’s tourism group estimates that $88 million is directly spent by attendees during the convention and $149 million trickles into the region’s economy. 

WonderCon Anaheim, another convention hosted by the organization behind San Diego Comic-Con, has also been canceled from its April 2020 date and will return in March 2021.

People who purchased badges for Comic-Con 2020 will be able to request a refund or transfer those badges to Comic-Con 2021, the organization said.

Badge holders should expect to receive an email in the next week with instructions on how to get a refund or transfer their tickets. Similarly, exhibitors will also have this option.

Read all of CNBC’s coronavirus coverage here.

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