Comic-Con Museum to open in Balboa Park – The San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Comic-Con International will open a museum of popular culture in Balboa Park under an agreement announced Thursday by the San Diego Hall of Champions and its Breitbard Hall of Fame.
“The Hall of Champions has our deepest appreciation in helping us to achieve the new chapter in Comic-Con history,” a Comic-Con spokesman said. “This center will provide a year-round interactive celebration of the innumerable aspects of popular art.”
The Breitbard Hall of Fame, which commemorates decades of local sports heroes, would move to Petco Park’s Western Metal Building and many of the historical items in the Hall of Champions would be housed at the San Diego History Center in the park. The sports museum renovated that then occupied the park’s former Federal Building that was built for the California-Pacific International Exposition of 1935-36.
“Bob Breitbard was one of San Diego’s greatest sports leaders,” said Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler, who also chairs the Hall of Champions board. “The San Diego Hall of Champions is an important community asset and this move positions the organization for a bright, sustainable future. The Padres are glad to welcome the Breitbard Hall of Fame of Petco Park.”
Dan Shea, a Hall of Champions board member, said the museum will close down in several months and items on loan, such as from the Padres and Chargers, will be returned to their owners. The items and archives not turned over to the History Museum will be auctioned off. The museum has nine months to vacate the building and turn it over to Comic-Con. The official transfer authority to Comic-Con took place Thursday after months of negotiations with the city.
He said the sports museum with a skeletal staff of about six could not carry on, even with income from renting out the facility for special events.
“It’s the changing world of museums and how people use them,” Shea said. “It just got to the point where long-term it was understood it was not going to drive the (visitor) traffic that would make it sustainable.”
The most recent tax return in 2015 from the Hall of Champions indicated expenses of more than $1.5 million and and income of $986,810, leaving a deficit of $562,271. Admissions totaled only $48,509.
Shea said the Hall of Fame, consisting of plaques and other items will be relocated possibly as early this summer in the ground level of the Western Metals Building that occupies the western edge of Petco Park. The hall’s annual awards program and other activities will continue.
Comic-Con has not released any details of what it has in mind and a spokesman could not immediately reached for comment. However, the announcement could indicate that the nonprofit is committing to a long-term presence in San Diego, beyond its present agreement to hold its main convention at the San Diego Convention Center that expires after next year’s con. Convention and tourism officials have been negotiating with Comic-Con to extend its agreement even as they try to expand the center to accommodate this and other big conventions.
The con annually draws more than 130,000 attendees, the largest of any convention in San Diego, and has spread its meetings and activities beyond the walls of the convention center in recent years.
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