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Bank of America promotes a personal credit card with Star Wars characters at Comic-Con.
I posited to the folks that put together Comic-con that not only might they be making a wack-load more money if they went into business - or at least had a for-profit arm - but that they might even be better at fulfilling their stated mission. Why let the studios make all this money off their backs? Some obvious profit-maximizing efforts for Comic-con would include raising ticket prices or moving the whole event - which sells out and bursts the seams of San Diego's convention center - to a bigger venue like Las Vegas. Variety recently noted that the event's $75 four-day passes were being scalped for as much as $300.

Here's a quick financial profile, based on Comic-con's most recent publicly-available financial statement, for the fiscal year ended August 2006: The company earned roughly $1 million on revenues of nearly $6 million, and had some $5 million in retained earnings. Only four full-time employees make more than $50,000, and the highest paid made $76,000 that year. One of the four, marketing chief David Glanzer, told me eagerly that the convention "isn't about the money, it's about the content. We're a group of fans trying to put on a show."

Indeed, one thing that troubled Glanzer about the scrutiny the event's charitable status received when the local San Diego newspaper wrote about it last year, is that it might leave the impression that the group solicits donations or grants either from individuals or the government (according to its financial statements going back to 2001, it has not).

Last updated July 25 2008: 2:31 PM ET
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