Late last month, Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC) not only drove roughly 100,000 people to the downtown area of San Jose, but, according to estimates, more than $12.5 million in direct revenue to local businesses. In fact, the three-day extravaganza had a greater economic impact than Super Bowl 50, which was held just eight miles away at Santa Clara’s Levi Stadium last year.
The city wholeheartedly embraced SVCC for its second annual event, following its debut in San Jose last year. Originally conceived by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, this year’s SVCC featured astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and actors John Cusack, Adam West (the original Batman), and Pam Grier, who circulated among the crowds of cosplayed attendees. At the multi-genre event, attendees celebrated their love of movies, television, video games, comic books, popular cultural arts, and technology.
And while they may be passionate about transcending time and space, attendees didn’t need to travel far to fully experience the event in San Jose. Once groups enter San Jose’s urban core, said Kyle Schatzel, Team San Jose’s communications manager, most of the time transportation isn’t needed — even for large shows and citywide events. San Jose, she said, “is all very compact in a small footprint. What we sell is a walkable downtown with about 8,000 hotel rooms within a couple block radius of the convention center and our theaters.”
Among those theaters is City National Civic, where SVCC offered sessions such as “Wonder Women Changing the Face of STEM,” and “An Evening with William Shatner.” Meanwhile, at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, a history-based presentation on catastrophic asteroid impacts was given by an astronomer, and a debate — “Who is the Most Powerful Superhero?” — pitted Marvel against DC Comics. Hosted by the team from San Jose’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, Wozniak appeared at Booth #435 in the center’s main hall to raise money for his pet project, a Los Gatos dog park.
In the midst of it all, the outdoor 2.3-acre Plaza de César Chávez was a hubbub of games, contests, tech demonstrations, music, and food.
As home to more than 6,000 companies in the tech sector, it’s no surprise that this city has taken a cutting-edge approach to marketing itself. Team San Jose — an innovative partnership unifying the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotels, arts, labor, and venues — manages the convention center, four historic theaters, and two cultural venues around the downtown core. As one would expect, Wickedly Fast W-Fi — as the city-hosted outdoor network is called — makes this global hub an ideal setting for bandwidth-hungry groups.
Did we say global hub? San Jose International Airport offers service to London, Frankfurt, Beijing, and Shanghai with direct flight connections to Baltimore/Washington D.C., Salt Lake City, Chicago, and New York, among many others. To learn more about San Jose, visit SanJose.org.