A virtual Comic-Con means opportunities, for some
Share Now on:
Wednesday marks the start of Comic-Con, the huge comic and entertainment convention usually held in San Diego, California.
Organizers would normally be expecting around 130,000 fans from over 80 countries to attend. Of course, that’s not possible this year, because of COVID-19, so the entire festival has gone virtual.
That means there’ll be no fans in amazing costumes packing the San Diego Convention Center. Anyone can watch the panels and presentations for free, rather than having to compete to get an expensive day pass.
There also won’t be industry meetings.
“There’s a great deal of business that occurs the weekend of Comic-Con in San Diego,” said David Glanzer, the spokesperson for Comic-Con. “It’s different, but we’re trying to bring some of the stuff online. It’s a new experience for us, but we hope it’ll be as fun but in a virtual format.”
The convention organizers have posted a video featuring some of the volunteers and security staff that fans would usually see onsite.
“Hello everyone, so great to see you all,” it starts. “Please be careful when getting off the escalators, and from your security team, welcome to Comic-Con!”
Watching that, at home, alone, might be a letdown for some fans, but for others, like Samatha Nazario, it’s an opportunity. She lives in Brooklyn and couldn’t have afforded the flights and hotel to go in person. She’s looking forward to watching panels and events live online with her fan community.
“It’s super important, I especially think in these times, to be able to have that type of experience again, but to not limit it just to people who can afford it,” she said.
No people waiting in long lines to spend on food and merchandise means no income for vendors. Last year, 17,551 hot dogs were sold at the San Diego Convention Center.
Emily Hummel is one of four creators of “Con Rangers” — they usually sell merit badges at a booth. Dedicated convention goers can buy them for $6 a pop to mark accomplishments like bumping into a celebrity or making a new friend in line. This year, that might mean making a friend in a chat room while waiting for a livestream to start. The convention has created an online marketplace, but, for Hummel, it’s not quite like being there.
“It’s gutting to think that it’s not happening, and so I have to be like, ‘OK, well, at least we’re still going to have this little portion of it,'” Hummel said.
San Diego gets about $149 million in economic benefit from Comic-Con.
For the convention itself, making the online event free to anyone means a big financial hit. It had enough saved to weather this year, but the future is uncertain.
“We’ll know more, I assume, as the months progress and we find out what the situation is health-wise, nationally and globally, because right now still seems to be very much up in the air,” said Glanzer.
Comic-Con at Home runs through Sunday.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?
This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.
Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?
India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.
Give today and get our limited edition tote.