San Diego Comic-Con Goes Virtual in July 2021, Plans November In-Person Event

San Diego Comic-Con, the largest fan convention in North America, will not be held in person in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced on Monday. Instead, the event will be held virtually over three days, from July 23-25.

In addition, Comic-Con International, the organization behind SDCC, is planning an in-person convention in San Diego to be held in November 2021.

“While we are buoyed by the rollout of the vaccine and the growing number of individuals being inoculated, it appears that July will still be too early to safely hold an in-person event of the magnitude of Comic-Con,” organizers said in a statement. “While we lament the postponement of the in-person Comic-Con, our commitment to this community of fans and our celebration of comics and the related popular arts endures as an important part of who we are.”

Both attendees and exhibitors planning to attend SDCC in July will have the option of rolling over to the Nov. 2021 convention or the July 2022 convention. In their announcement, organizers said details on these plans “will be forthcoming.”

It’s the second year in a row that the in-person event, which historically has welcomed as many as 130,000 participants each year since the late 2000s, has had to be moved online due to health and safety precautions connected to the pandemic. As a non-profit organization, Comic-Con International — which is also holding a virtual version of WonderCon, its annual fan convention held in Anaheim, Calif., in March — is not nearly as deep pocketed as the major studios. In Monday’s announcement, organizers said the postponements and other challenges caused by the pandemic “have left us with limited financial resources,” which forced the virtual convention in July to be reduced from four days to three.

In advance of Comic-Con “At Home” in July 2020, David Glanzer, chief communications officer and strategy officer at Comic-Con Intl., told Variety that CCI did have a monetary “buffer” in case one of its fan conventions had to be canceled for a catastrophic reason. “I don’t think we ever thought we’d have to cancel two shows,” he said. “It was really, really frightening.”

More to come.

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