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. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.