City inks long-term deal with motorsports show

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Officials of the International Motorsports Industry Show and the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association announced an agreement Wednesday to keep the show in the city indefinitely.

The deal, which was initially signed for the years 2009 and 2010, was extended through 2015 in December. The latest agreement says the event will remain in Indianapolis for the life of the convention.

ICVA estimates the event generates more than $15.9 million in direct visitor spending for the city. Attendance for the inaugural show, held in December, topped 10,000. It also drew 345 exhibitors.

This year’s convention, set for Dec. 1-3, is expected to draw more than 20,000 visitors as well as 575 exhibitors.

“It is only fitting for the ‘Racing Capital of the World’ to permanently host the premier racing industry tradeshow, a show that brings together the entire global motorsports business,” ICVA President and CEO Don Welsh said in a prepared statement.

Indianapolis-based IMIS is owned by Tom Weisenbach, executive director of the Indiana Motorsports Association; Chris Paulsen, owner of C&R Racing Inc.; Jeff Stoops, president of Stoops Freightliner; and NASCAR driver and Indiana resident Tony Stewart.

“After shattering our projections for our inaugural show in 2009 and overwhelming positive feedback from attendees, we are confident in this deliberate decision to keep our show in Indianapolis,” Weisenbach said in a statement.

Indianapolis previously hosted a similar motorsports trade show, Performance Racing Industry Show, operated by a California-based group. Now held in Orlando, it was here until it outgrew the Indiana Convention Center in 2004.

A $275 million convention center expansion that will add 254,000 square feet of exhibit space is set to be finished in January.

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