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Nation’s largest motorsports trade show returning to city

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The nation’s biggest motorsports trade show, the Performance Racing Industry Show, is returning to Indianapolis next year, bringing about 40,000 guests and millions of dollars of visitor spending with it.

PRI had a seven-year run in Indianapolis through 2004, but outgrew the city’s convention facilities and left for Orlando.

Now, it’s returning in 2013 after its owner, the Diamond Bar, Calif.-based Specialty Equipment Market Association, acquired the upstart International Motorsports Industry Show on Monday.

The acquisition of Indianapolis-based IMIS is set to close in December, SEMA said in a press release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but IMIS will be folded into PRI.

SEMA said its acquisition of IMIS unifies the racing industry’s two trade shows into one, creating the opportunity for exhibitors and buyers to do business in a single location.

For Indianapolis, the announcement translates into a five-year economic impact of roughly $40 million per year (double the impact of the IMIS show), or $200 million through 2017, when IMIS' contract with the city is set to expire.

An expanded Indiana Convention Center made the show's return possible, convention officials said.

“It’s a huge win for the city and a perfect example of, if you build it, they will return,” said Chris Gahl, spokesman for Visit Indy, the organization formerly known as the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association..

The convention center underwent a $275 million expansion completed in 2011 that increased exhibit space to about 566,000 square feet. That number does not include Lucas Oil Stadium, which is used by some of the largest conventions.

At its 2011 show, PRI occupied about 750,000 square feet of space in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

PRI is not slated to use Lucas Oil Stadium next year, but could in 2014 after determining demand, organizers say. The preference is to remain in one building, using space in corridors and other areas if necessary.

“We looked at Lucas Oil Stadium and looked across the street at the Indiana Convention Center,” PRI President John Kilroy said. “And I asked our exhibitors, ‘Do any of you want to exhibit in the football stadium?’ and none of them wanted to exhibit in the stadium.”

The need to unify the racing industry trade shows, making it more affordable for exhibitors that might participate in both shows, seems to have trumped any exhibitor concerns about the smaller space in Indianapolis.

“The racing industry needed to have just one motorsports trade show in the U.S.,” said Scooter Brothers, chairman of SEMA’s board of directors, in a written statement. “I’m proud to say we’ve accomplished that.”

IMIS was formed in 2009 to fill the void left by PRI and stage a similar event in the Racing Capital of the World. Led by a group that includes NASCAR driver and Columbus resident Tony Stewart, IMIS this year will be held at the Indiana Convention Center from Dec. 6-8.

The event is expected to draw 25,000 visitors, up from about 10,000 three years ago. While IMIS has grown in stature since PRI’s departure, it’s no match for PRI, which draws about 40,000 spectators annually.

Having the two combined entities hold one event in Indianapolis is huge for the city, said Barney Levengood, executive director of the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, which operates the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Bringing PRI back here is so big,” he said. “That’s just huge.”

This year’s PRI trade show will run Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 in Orlando before it returns to Indianapolis next year for a three-day run, Dec. 12-14.

Besides NASCAR driver Stewart, IMIS owners are Chris Paulsen, president of locally based C&R Racing, and Jeff Stoops, president of Stoops Freightliner.
 
 

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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