Comic-Con 2020 is officially canceled.

The annual San Diego entertainment fandom mega-event has called off its conference for the first time in 50 years. The convention was originally planned to get underway July 23 but was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"For the first time in its 50-year history San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), the organizers behind the annual pop culture celebration, announced today with deep regret that there will be no Comic-Con in 2020," the organization said in a statement. "The event will instead return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021. Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer. Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year."

Fans who purchased badges will have option to request a refund or to transfer their badges to Comic-Con 2021, organizers added. Badge holders will receive email instructions within the next week. Comic-Con’s official hotel affiliate onPeak will be canceling all hotel reservations and refunding all deposits.

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Comic-Con International
Credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

“Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision,” said David Glanzer, spokesperson for the organization. “We eagerly look forward to the time when we can all meet again and share in the community we all love and enjoy.”

The news probably isn't surprising to those who have been to SDCC -- Comic-Con is the exact opposite of social distancing. More than 130,000 attending fans are jammed together inside the convention center as well as in downtown San Diego's packed Gaslamp Quarter. And with so many films and TV shows having interrupted their production cycle or postponing their release, studios would have a hard very time committing to programming panels, as well as convincing talent to attend.

Organizers previously issued a statement earlier this month saying they hoped to continue forward with the event, but with the postponement of another entertainment title that same weekend (Top Gun: Maverick) and the delay of August's Burning Man festival, the writing was on the wall that Comic-Con would soon follow.

The move is a major economic blow, however, to the city of San Diego, with fans spending an estimated $88 million annually to the city and local businesses. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported the move would result in the cancelation of 220,000 hotel room nights

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