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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

TwitchCon’s thousands of gamers returning to San Diego this year — plus four more years

Audience members gathered at TwitchCon at the San Diego Convention Center on Sept. 27, 2019, to cheer on gamers battling each other in Fortnite. The convention ran through Sunday.  (Alejandro Tamayo/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
By Lori Weisberg San Diego Union-Tribune

TwitchCon, the popular live streaming conference that was last here in 2022, is returning after bidding farewell to Las Vegas and cutting a deal to stay in San Diego through 2028.

Expected to draw roughly 30,000 attendees when it heads to the San Diego Convention Center in September, organizers announced last week that they are planning to hold their European convention in Rotterdam this June, where it will remain through 2026, and “triumphantly return” to San Diego Sept. 20-22.

Twitch, the live streaming platform that hosts the conference, did not say on its website what prompted the return to San Diego, but San Diego convention and tourism leaders say they have been courting organizers to return.

Last year’s TwitchCon was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“They are an existing customer of San Diego, and we are always looking for opportunities for business for San Diego so our sales team was very involved working with them,” said Kerri Kapich, chief operating officer for the San Diego Tourism Authority. “Groups who have been here awhile know San Diego builds a lot of attendance and it’s a great experience for the attendees.”

She pointed out that it is not unusual for large conventions like TwitchCon to move around to different locations in the country. TwitchCon was last in San Diego in 2022, following a pandemic pause, and before that in 2019 when it drew about 25,000 attendees per day.

“This is a growing convention,” Kapich said. “And they’re highly popular – it’s the gaming industry, you’re talking live streaming, a growth market and they looked at San Diego and saw what a wonderful experience we deliver.”

In a statement provided to the Union-Tribune, Twitch explained its reasoning for returning to San Diego.

“San Diego has been a fan favorite locale and we’ve received really positive feedback from past attendees about our decision to return there for years to come. Hosting TwitchCon in San Diego for multiple years in a row allows our community to invest in the city and familiarize themselves with its charms and sights and it enables Twitch to build more long standing relationships in the area.”

Twitch, a video streaming platform owned by Amazon, started out with a focus on gamers but over time broadened its reach to accommodate a variety of streaming content, from sports and travel to food and drink. The decision to sign new contracts for its European and U.S. conventions comes at a time when Twitch is trimming its workforce.

Earlier this month, it announced it would be cutting 500 jobs, or 35 percent of its employees. Twitch CEO Dan Clancy, in a blog post, said he was taking the move to ensure that the company remains a sustainable business. Despite recent efforts to move in that direction, he said that “it has become clear that our organization is still meaningfully larger than it needs to be given the size of our business. Last year we paid out over $1 billion to streamers.”

Nonetheless, TwitchCon remains an economic boon for San Diego given the tens of thousands who attend.

When San Diego hosted TwitchCon in October 2022, it attracted approximately 30,000 attendees, who spent $43.6 million on hotels, restaurants, shopping and transportation, according to the San Diego Convention Center Corp. That in turn had a ripple effect on the local economy of more than $74 million.

Convention Center spokesperson Maren Dougherty said the center is predicting that TwittchCon “will be among the top five events in terms of attendance for each of its upcoming years in San Diego, 2024-2028.”