Officials of the San Diego Hall of Champions and Comic-Con International announced June 8 that they are in talks on the possible leasing of space at the Balboa Park venue for a Comic-Con museum.
Leaders of the nonprofit that oversees the Hall of Champions, billed as the nation’s largest multisport museum, said officials had internally discussed the possibility of subleasing some or all of the museum location, after learning of Comic-Con’s interest in the space. They then made the decision recently to move forward with official discussions.
Comic-Con International is headquartered in San Diego and has held its famous annual pop-culture and science fiction gathering in the city since its inception in 1970. Organizers have previously committed to holding the event at San Diego Convention Center through 2018.
Officials of the nonprofit Comic-Con International have been exploring the establishment of a year-round space that would allow the organization to further its mission of bringing comics and related popular art forms to a wider audience. However, there was no immediate comment from Comic-Con officials on whether a local museum would impact future venue planning for the convention itself.
“Comic-Con has been working with the Hall of Champions as part of our continuing exploration of how best to ensure Comic-Con’s legacy,” said Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer, in a statement issued by the Hall of Champions. “At this time we are in talks and while no decision has been made, we are thrilled with the direction of those discussions.”
Comic-Con International in recent years has announced future venue plans following the close of the current year’s event, slated this year for July 21-24 at the convention center. Comic-Con International attracts a crowd of nearly 130,000 and is the largest single convention held annually in San Diego.
However, organizers have been wooed in recent years by venues in competing cities, including Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Local convention center and tourism officials have pushed for a contiguous expansion of San Diego Convention Center, contending that large groups including Comic-Con are outgrowing current facilities and scouting sites in other markets.
The San Diego Hall of Champions provides sports programming to the local community and also rents out its Balboa Park venue as an events space. The hall’s creation stemmed from work of the local Breitbard Athletic Foundation, started in 1946 by Bob Breitbard to promote educational work and recognize significant athletic achievement.
Dan Shea, owner of the Donovan’s restaurants and a San Diego Hall of Champions board member, said in the statement that the hall’s current programs will continue regardless of the outcome of talks with Comic-Con International.