Salt Lake Comic Con sees more out-of-town fans

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Salt Lake Comic Con is just three days away and some big name celebrities are already making their way to Utah. Along with the stars come the fans.

About 85% of Comic Con goers are from Utah or the Salt Lake Valley. The push is to expand and get more people from out-of-state and that generates more money for Utah. If there's ever a man who "is" Comic Con, it’s Lou Ferrigno, The Incredible Hulk.

“When I was younger, I was the hulk my whole life. When I was younger, I used to read the Hulk comic books because I would fantasize about being the Hulk because I get bullied a lot,” said actor Lou Ferrigno.

Lou can't go anywhere without a person noticing him and it’s obvious why.

“When I played the hulk it was a physical thing. The other comic book characters, it was a costume. But this is the real stuff. It’s not just special effects,” said Ferrigno.

He’s one of the big reasons why Salt Lake Comic Con's numbers keep growing. It’s also because of a more aggressive marketing plan.

Farr drives a marked Audi R8 you just can't help but notice. And me, I couldn't help but get inside. The social media about this car and the event is sparking interest outside of Utah.

“The people who come in from out of town will stay all three days. But we also have people who come in from outside of the county who will get a hotel room because it's easier to stay down for the evening activities,” said Salt Lake Comic Con Co-Founder Dan Farr.

About 15% of this year's ticket sales are from out-of-towners.

“The guest who stays in our hotels and buys breakfast lunch and dinner and not just lunch,” said Visit Salt Lake President & CEO Scott Beck.

But Comic Con goers don't spend as much money in the community as let's say the Outdoor Retailers that grossed more than $20 million for Utah.

“We tend to focus on groups who have 50-60% or more of their attendees from outside the region,” said Beck.

So for now, co-founder Dan Farr continues building the name and the perks for the celebs that stop by. And even The Incredible Hulk is taking notice.

“Putting on one of the best shows I think in the world because he really wants people, fans to come to the show and have them be entertained and have fun and they make that connection,” said Ferrigno.

This year, visit salt lake helped comic con secure about 800 hotel rooms. There’s a partnership between the two groups with a common goal: get more people from out of town to come to Comic Con.

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