With the San Diego Comic-Con International kicking off Wednesday night with an anticipated 75,000+ attendees expected for the weekend, the Acura Tennis Classic tennis tournament in town, and opening weekend at the Del Mar Race track, hotel rooms in San Diego are at an extreme premium this week, with Superbowl-style pricing. The Super 8 and Holiday Inn Express in Mission Valley were at the extreme end of pricing, both offering rooms for $667 a night. A Ramada was at $503 a night. And most hotels are simply sold out.
Preview Night at Comic-Con got off with a few glitches, with long lines remaining two hours after the exhibit floor opened at 5:30. A switch from convention volunteers to convention center employees handling registration, a change in the type of equipment being used, and insufficient staffing caused the delays in getting attendees, all of whom were pre-registered for all four days, in the door.
Regardless, the traffic inside the hall was brisk, with what appeared to be an increase in the number of attendees over the last year. The convention itself has also grown once again, and now occupies every square foot of the San Diego Convention Center.
Among the major new exhibits is a mammoth Star Wars pavilion, which exemplifies the kind of uber-exhibitors now occupying a significant percentage of the hall -- not promoting any particular product, but instead promoting an intellectual property in all its manifestations. Other exhibits in that vein include those by TV networks, movie studios, and collaborative exhibits by multiple companies around single properties, all of which continue to expand their presence.
And, of course, comic publishers, game companies, anime producers, toy companies (perhaps more than in years past) and retailers of every kind of pop culture merchandise fill out the picture at this biggest show of the year.
Show announcements have been coming in for over a week, and we'll continue to report show announcements in the coming days.