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San Diego Comic-Con 2020 canceled due to coronavirus concerns

The annual nerd-media blowout would have occurred July 22-26

san diego comic-con Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Comic-Con International, the organizing body of San Diego Comic-Con, announced Friday that the annual media expo will be canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year,” the convention’s statement said, “and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, [organizers] had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer. Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year.”

Organizers plan on San Diego Comic-Con returning on July 22-25, 2021.

According to the statement from organizers, “Individuals who purchased badges for Comic-Con 2020 will have the option to request a refund or transfer their badges to Comic-Con 2021.” Exhibitors who bought space on the convention’s expo floor will be given the same offer of refund or transfer. All badge holders and exhibitors will receive an email with instructions “within the next week.”

Comic-Con International’s decision comes after several other high-profile event postponements and cancellations, including the Game Developers Conference, South by Southwest, and E3. It also came after its home state of California extended its statewide shelter-in-place order through May 3 and further tightened its social-distancing rules.

As recently as April 1, convention organizers tweeted that they were hopeful SDCC would still happen in July:

Eyes turn to SDCC every year as the summer destination where movie and TV studios plug their upcoming genre blockbusters. (Sometimes there’s even a little comic-book news, too.) But this year, with TV productions on hold, theaters closed until further notice, and tentpole after tentpole postponed to August at the earliest, studios are tightening their belts.

And while the show wouldn’t have opened its doors until July 22, the convention’s massive annual housing lottery is usually launched in March or April. During the lottery, attendees queue for the chance to get a reasonably located hotel room, and are also asked to put down a 50% deposit. At the moment, many hotels in San Diego are shuttering due to low occupancy, including the convention center-adjacent Grand Hyatt.

According to the statement from organizers, “In the next few days onPeak, Comic-Con’s official hotel affiliate, will be canceling all hotel reservations and refunding all deposits made through them.” No action will be necessary on the part of those who had already reserved hotel rooms.

2020 is the first time San Diego Comic-Con has missed a year since it was founded as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970.

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