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Anaheim turns to Facebook for help in wooing Comic-Con

by  in Comic News Comment

The courtship of Comic-Con International, and its $40-million annual boost to the local economy, has made the move to Facebook.

The Wrap discovers that the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau is turning to social media, and the people of Southern California, to help in its bid for the pop-culture event.

On a newly launched Facebook fan page called Bring Comic-Con International to Anaheim, CA, the convention bureau posts an “Open Letter to Comic-Con International” extolling the virtues of the Orange County area and the Anaheim Convention Center — it underscores the selling points on its website — while acknowledging organizers’ hesitancy about uprooting the event from its longtime San Diego home.

“… We get the feeling that it is going to take something extra to get you to leave a place of comfort and familiarity to come to Anaheim,” the letter states. “We need to show you the level of interest and excitement that Comic-Con International elicits out of this huge Southern California drive market.”

To that end, the convention bureau is using the Facebook page “to gauge the fervor of the Southern California crowd” and show convention organizers “just how excited people would get at the mere consideration of Comic-Con International moving to Anaheim.”

It will take more than excitement and Facebook fans, though. As Comic-Con nears the end of its lease with the San Diego Convention Center, the home it long ago outgrew — attendance has been capped at about 126,000 because of lack of space — Anaheim and Los Angeles are prime contenders for the event for 2013 and beyond.

That’s not to say San Diego should be counted out: The San Diego Convention Center Corp. has submitted a proposal seeking to extend Comic-Con’s contract through 2015, and has secured commitments from three waterfront hotels to provide for free about 300,000 square feet of meeting space from 2013 to 2015.