Business Report: San Diego To Keep Comic-Con Through 2024
Friday, July 19, 2019
KPBS anchor Ebone Monet and SDSU marketing lecturer Miro Copic discuss some of the week’s top business stories.
Q: For this week San Diego has an international spotlight thanks to Comic-Con. Thanks to a contract renewal, we'll keep Comic-Con until 2024. So is there really an economic benefit for San Diego keeping this major convention?
A: There is a huge benefit for San Diego. This is by far the largest convention that San Diego hosts. There is $150 million in overall economic benefit. The city itself just from sales tax and hotel tax receives over $3 million. But more importantly, this really elevates the prestige of San Diego with a truly international event. Not only are there 135,000 people, but from 80 different countries. There is going to be 2,500 press from 30 different countries. So not only are they going to talk about the fun and excitement around Comic-Con, but also about the city of San Diego which elevates our prestige for prospective tourists, people who want to live here, and people who want to work here. It's a big showcase for the city of San Diego and one that we shouldn't be losing.
The extension was really important. It's really contingent on the vote for the convention center expansion with the increase in hotel tax in the spring of 2020. The city is banking on this. Comic-Con loves San Diego because this is their 50th anniversary, and they do it for nostalgia because it was founded here. But at some point, the profit motive will win out. If we don't get that resolved in 2024 it's going to be in L.A. or Orange County.
Q: Despite having Comic-Con, recent studies show that San Diego is no longer in the top five of top destinations for conventions or business meetings. How big is this convention industry, and which cities are doing it better?
A: It's an interesting study that came out. It's kind of a little bit of a false positive. San Diego is number seven. It fell from number five to number seven, and it has been in the top 10 since the study was founded. No other California city has cracked the top 10. We're ahead of cities like New York, Miami, and Washington D.C. So we're in a good place.
The way the study is conducted is that it has three parts. One is how many leads to meeting planners receive for a convention request. So, for example, the two cities that went ahead of us, Dallas and Nashville, are inexpensive cities. They have great facilities. They're hubs for airlines. A lot of meeting planners will request proposals from the city of Dallas or the city of Nashville. The other two components are the number of conventions that we have, and the number of attendees and there San Diego does extraordinarily well. We have over 130 conventions. We have 750,000 attendees. Hotels in the last year, their occupancy rates have increased; so more people are coming and they're spending more. Their average daily value what they what the hotels bring in per visitor has increased. So San Diego is doing actually pretty well in the study. It's just that if you think about we may not be getting as many requests cause we're an expensive city.
Q: So this week was Amazon Prime Day, which has become a huge shopping day. It is actually bigger than both Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Is there any benefit to actually shopping on Amazon Prime Day?
A: There is. What's interesting is that in American retail retailers have never figured out what happens after Father's Day and up to back to school. It's a pretty dead period for retailers. And Amazon is kind of focused on this one window to create excitement around retail. Amazon Prime Day, 175 million items were bought over this 48-hour window. So this is a big deal for Amazon. More importantly for Amazon is they get Prime members. More than 50% of all Americans are Prime members. This is after Amazon increased the price of the Prime membership for $99 last year to $119 this year. So people see the value because of one-day shipping, because of the television programming and the number of deals is huge.
The positive for overall retail is Amazon's Prime Day has lifted all boats. Big retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, Macy's, saw their online sales increase over 65% and even smaller retailers saw an increase in online sales of 30%. Every retailer has benefited during a really dead period. It's a big win for the consumers getting better deals, and it helps the retailers bottom line as well.
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