IBJNews

Downtown Indianapolis gearing up for big visitor weekend

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Gen Con Indy gaming convention and the MotoGP motorcycle race are among several events the city is hosting this weekend that could produce a direct economic impact of $150 million, city hospitality officials estimate.

More than 100,000 visitors are expected to converge on the city for just those two events, creating a boon for restaurants and hoteliers who will benefit from the economic impact that might rival the $176 million generated by the Super Bowl.

“This is truly a monumental weekend,” said Chris Gahl, spokesman for the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association. “We’re considering this weekend a virtual sellout, and that’s not only in our downtown core. The suburban hotel properties are benefiting also.”

Gen Con, one of the city’s largest annual conventions, and the MotoGP Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix have never taken place on the same weekend.

As part of the fifth-annual MotoGP race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, about 10,000 riders are expected to participate in the Motorcycles on Meridian event, in which they’ll showcase their bikes Friday and Saturday on South Meridian Street.

In addition, country crooner Blake Shelton will perform at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday as part of the Indiana State Fair concert series, and the IndyFringe Festival begins Friday and runs through Aug. 26. IndyFringe features 68 different productions at seven theater spaces.

For the upscale Conrad Indianapolis, the weekend is shaping up to be “solid,” said Tim Miller, director of sales and marketing for the downtown hotel.

“It’s great excitement for the city,” he said, “and it should be a fun weekend for everybody who’s in town.”

Gen Con, which runs from Thursday through Sunday at the Indiana Convention Center, kicks off the festivities.

Pre-registrations are up roughly 25 percent over 2011 and exhibit space has been sold out since January—both strong signs that this year’s attendance will be the biggest ever. That’s pretty impressive considering the lingering economic uncertainty and the fact that last year drew the largest crowd in the 45-year-old gaming convention’s history.

Gen Con arrived in Indianapolis in 2003 and is celebrating its 10th year here this weekend. Total turnstile attendance has risen from 82,000 in 2005, the first year for which the organization has reliable figures, to 120,000 last year, a 46-percent increase.

To the delight of downtown businesses, Gen Con will be in Indianapolis for several years to come.

In December, the convention’s parent, Seattle-based Gen Con LLC, announced a five-year agreement with ICVA that will keep it in the city through 2020. Gen Con had a previous commitment through 2015.

“Gen Con is a perfect example of if you built it, we will stay,” Gahl said of the $275 million convention center addition that opened in January 2011.

Attendance for MotoGP’s Sunday main event last year was 64,151, a slight improvement from 2010’s 62,749, according to MotoGP officials.

But the three-day total going through the turnstiles at the Speedway last year was 134,766, the lowest of the event’s four-year stint in Indianapolis.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • other events
    You failed to mention the Fountain Square Grand Prix........this will be a large celebration!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT