Comic-Con International 2014 Hits San Diego with a BAM!

August 7, 2014

Before even getting to the San Diego Convention Center, it was clear that Comic-Con International 2014 was in full swing.  Nearly 200,000 attendees were showing their best costumes that rival any Halloween party during the four-day event held  July 24-27. And Comic-Con brought their A-game as well, with events, interactions, games, panel, and previews spread in and around the convention center.

For Dark Horse Comics Public Relations Strategist Aub Driver, the event exceeded expectations yet again.

“We have been attending for such a long time and the energy and activity here are always amazing,” Driver said. “We come away with such positive experiences and we can see how much the attendees love the show.”

Attendee Chris L. from Oakland enthusiastically agreed; “This is my second time attending Comic-Con, and what I enjoy the most is the ability to network with those in the industry.  As a designer and artist, this is the event of the year to make those connections.” 

Of course, those who attended also were looking to see and be seen.  Venues and attractions were positioned around the convention center for both crowd control and photo opportunities with some very intricate costumes, which added to the overall energy of the show.

First- time attendee Natalie V. from New York City could not believe the sheer size and entertainment choices.

“It is a bit overwhelming to take this all in, and with a show so large in size and attendance, it has been incredibly well run,” she said. “I had no idea how much there would be to see and do, not only at the show, but around San Diego.

Across the street from the convention center in the plaza, attendees were able to have fun with some off-the-wall booths and attractions. 

Actor panels were taking place in multiple locations as well, both in the famous “Hall H”, as well as in the hotels close to the convention center. 

With the number of attendees, all of downtown San Diego seemed to be enjoying the invasion of Comic-Con, with themed food and beverages at restaurants, special events during the after-hours and comic-style signage to welcome those attending the show.

Tim Lawes from Prop Store said, “This is our 7th year attending, and the show never gets old or in a rut.  This year we did something unique and were able to promote our upcoming auction.  And while people are clearly having fun, they make it a point to network and get those valuable connections.”

Comic-Con will be back July 8–12 next year at the San Diego Convention Center.  Tickets sell fast (and we mean fast) so be sure to check the Web site regularly so you know when tickets are available. 

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.