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. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

  2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

  3. Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.

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  5. It is sad to see these races not have a full attendance. The Indy Car races are so much more exciting than Nascar. It seems to me the commenters here are still a little upset with Tony George from a move he made 20 years ago. It was his decision to make, not yours. He lost his position over it. But I believe the problem in all pro sports is the escalating price of admission. In todays economy, people have to pay much more for food and gas. The average fan cannot attend many events anymore. It's gotten priced out of most peoples budgets.