Tourism boosters want you to know that the hordes of people who descended on downtown San Diego recently for Comic-Con came with their wallets.
San Diego Convention Center officials estimated Comic-Con provided a $178 million economic boon to the city this year. The figure has been repeated in numerous news reports about the event and Comic-Con’s impact on the local economy is cited as a key reason the city needs to expand the Convention Center. (The expansion hit a major snag Friday with an appeals court decision to throw out the project’s financing.)
But the $178 million figure has a lot of problems. It’s based on outdated information. It includes assumptions of visitor spending from events that aren’t anything like Comic-Con. And it counts certain effects on San Diego’s economy twice. Two local economic researchers believe Comic-Con’s true effect on the economy could be significantly less than the study claims.
“It overstates the impact,” said Erik Bruvold, the president of National University’s Institute for Policy Research.