WonderCon is officially moving from Anaheim to Los Angeles in 2016, AEG Facilities confirmed Monday. The Los Angeles Convention Center will play host to the annual comic event on March 25-27 next year.
The con was launched in Oakland in 1987 and was held in the Bay Area until 2011, when it moved to Anaheim, where it has remained for the past four years. As the convention continues to expand in content and attendance (it drew more than 60,000 visitors in 2014), it has strained the city’s parking resources and threatened to outgrow the Anaheim Convention Center, prompting fans to speculate over a possible move.
San Diego is facing a similar issue with WonderCon’s sister show, Comic-Con International, which draws almost double the number of attendees as WonderCon. Each year, the Comic-Con hotel lottery sells out of downtown hotel rooms in a matter of minutes, creating major headaches for out-of-town attendees who flood the city for the four-day event. Los Angeles is actively trying to lure Comic-Con International away from San Diego, with Las Vegas also considered a possible alternative as the convention grows. For now, the relocation to Los Angeles is believed to be temporary, as WonderCon’s proposed dates conflict with other events at the Anaheim Convention Center, but L.A. will likely be looking to make the move permanent.
“Los Angeles is honored to have been selected as the destination for WonderCon 2016. We look forward to establishing a long-term partnership with Comic-Con International, the presenter, and helping them establish a home base in L.A. We anticipate the show to be highly attended and to set the precedent for future successful Comic-Con events in L.A.,” remarked Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB) sales and marketing team, the Los Angeles Convention Center, AEG, and the hotel and business community have extensively collaborated to offer a mutually beneficial proposal that would be appealing to WonderCon and its attendees while simultaneously driving millions of dollars in economic impact for the City of Los Angeles,” commented Jon F. Vein, president of the board of the Los Angeles Convention & Tourism Development Commissioners.
“We’re accustomed to hosting large-scale, highly attended events here at the Los Angeles Convention Center and our neighboring L.A. Live Campus. Los Angeles is the second largest market in the country, positioned at the doorstep to Hollywood and offers unparalleled natural growth for WonderCon,” added Brad Gessner, AEG Facilities senior VP and general manager for the Los Angeles Convention Center.