San Diego Comic-Con International will announce Friday that the largest comics convention of its kind will remain in its native city for at least five more years, the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting.
For months, speculation has run high that the 41-year-old event -- having "outgrown" its Convention Center digs -- would bolt for a new host city such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas or Anaheim. Each summer, Comic-Con draws about 125,000 attendees over more than four days, prompting debates over hotel rates and occupancy in the area.
San Diego's Convention Center has hosted the event for nearly two decades, but in recent years, the pop-culture behemoth has sold out well in advance as it capped its attendance.
The Union-Tribune quotes Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer as saying: "We've always had a desire to stay in San Diego, and we had three amazing proposals. It was obviously a very difficult decision, one born out by the amount of time it's taken to make that decision. But in the end San Diego was able to address a lot of our concerns."
The event's lease with the San Diego Convention Center was due to expire in 2012. Comic-Con reportedly is worth more than $160-million annually to the San Diego region.
In 1970, the first Comic-Con -- at the U.S. Grant Hotel -- drew only several hundred people. It grew steadily for decades; in recent years, Hollywood's increased presence has only stoked the swiftness with which the event sells out.
The San Diego Convention Center Corp. has called a news conference for 11:45 PT Friday.
But the main "Keep Comic-Con in San Diego" Facebook page posted an update that read:
"So I guess we don't have to wait till [Friday]! It's official, COMIC-CON WILL BE STAYING IN SAN DIEGO through 2015! That also means we will have to keep up the fight for 5 more years!"