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UPDATE: Indy ices six FFA conventions

December 12, 2008
Indianapolis has been given the right to host six lucrative national conventions for the National FFA Organization between 2013 and 2024, according to a source familiar with an announcement scheduled to be made later this morning.

After finishing its current seven-year run in Indianapolis in 2012, Louisville will host the convention in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Indianapolis will play host in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Louisville then will get first option of hosting the convention the following three years.

Indianapolis will have the first option of hosting the convention from 2022 through 2024.

The convention, which drew 55,000 attendees to Indianapolis in 2007 and 53,000 attendees in 2008, is seen by local convention and tourism officials as one of the city's biggest convention prizes. FFA convention attendees spend an estimated $40 million annually in Indianapolis, according to the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.

Indianapolis and Louisville were the two finalists for the next round of conventions. The FFA, which is headquartered near West 86th Street and Interstate 465, also considered Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; and Kansas City, Mo.

Louisville hosted the convention from 1999 to 2005 before it was moved to Indianapolis in 2006, and Kansas City had it in prior years. The convention is known for inundating host cities in October with oceans of youth in their trademark blue jackets.

FFA officials struggled to weigh pros and cons of Indianapolis and Louisville.

Indianapolis was thought to offer more of an urban experience for the members, many of whom are from rural areas. Indianapolis also has a more convenient set of venues downtown and nicer hotels. However, Indianapolis hotels are more expensive than those in Louisville - raising costs to the point FFA officials suspected attendance was being hurt.

Dual press conferences will be held today in Indianapolis and Louisville to make the announcement. In Indianapolis, details will be revealed during a press conference at 10:30 a.m. at Conseco Fieldhouse.

FFA has 500,823 high school student members preparing for leadership roles and careers in science, business and agriculture.
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