City lands major expo with $19M economic impact

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The recently expanded Indiana Convention Center appears to be paying off in a big way, helping the city land a major convention in 2019 with an estimated $18.6 million economic impact.

City officials on Tuesday announced a one-year deal to host the National Safety Council’s Annual Congress & Expo on Sept. 23-25, 2019. It’s the first time the event has been in Indianapolis, and NSC officials said bringing the gathering here wouldn’t have been possible without the expansion.

“With its expanded convention facilities, convenient hotel skywalk system, and compact downtown, Indianapolis is a natural fit for our annual convention,” said Karen Howe, National Safety Council executive director.

The city-wide convention will use the entire 566,000-square-foot Convention Center and bring 14,000 delegates to the city. ICVA officials said the event will likely be one of the five biggest conventions Indianapolis hosts in 2019.

The city and state recently spent $275 million to add 254,000 square feet of exhibit space, 63,000 square feet of meeting rooms and 103,000 square feet of pre-function and registration space to the Convention Center. The expansion was complete in January.

Most of the conventions currently hosted by Indianapolis bring in fewer than half as many delegates as the NSC event. Among the city’s biggest conventions, the Do It Best Corp.’s annual convention brings in 10,000 delegates, and CEDIA Expo brings in 25,000 delegates.

Local tourism officials said the NSC attracts a notably upscale demographic, with many medical-related business executives attending from New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.

ICVA officials said they’d been pursuing the NSC Annual Congress & Expo for more than a year. Recently, the NSC has held expos in Anaheim, Calif.; Atlanta; Chicago; New Orleans; Orlando and San Diego.

“There’s a wow factor throughout the industry when you win a piece of business like this," said ICVA spokesman Chris Gahl. “A win like this can turn the heads of other large conventions and corporate meetings. When there’s a convention that has been booking in mega-convention cities like Orlando and Chicago, and it comes to Indianapolis, it helps change the image of our city, and shows we are capable of hosting this caliber of meeting.”

The National Safety Council is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health. Headquartered in Itasca, Ill., NSC was founded in 1913 and granted a congressional charter in 1953.



  • numbers
    $18,600,000 divided by 14,000 attendees equals $1,328.57 per attendee.
  • Adding up
    Based on the lack of transparency and downright falsehoods in the jobs-creation numbers lately; I cannot help but wonder how they tally up $18.6 million. Is this essentially saying that this 3 day conference will bring $18.6 million into the Indianapolis area? I know there is a lot to consider, i.e. airfare, rental cars, dining, lodging, etc., so this is why I am asking, how this number is developed and can this be backed up?

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.