Gen Con agrees to 5-year Indy extension-WEB ONLY

Gen Con, one of city’s biggest annual conventions, has signed a five-year extension with the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association for 2011 through 2015.

The four-day event held each August attracts almost 30,000 visitors who account for 25,000 hotel room nights and $26.9 million in annual visitor spending.

It was the third largest convention in Indianapolis last year in terms of direct visitor spending.

Now in its 42nd year, the event is the top consumer sci-fi and adventure-gaming convention in the world. The event moved to the city in 2003. Attendees include game and science fiction enthusiasts who often dress the part of their favorite characters.

“Gen Con has been good for Indianapolis, and Indianapolis has been great for Gen Con,” Adrian Swartout, CEO of Seattle-based Gen Con LLC, said in a statement announcing the extension. “Our attendees love the city and how welcomed they are by everyone in the hotels, restaurants and venues.”

This year’s Gen Con convention takes place Aug. 13-16 and will occupy both the Indiana Convention Center and meeting space throughout downtown hotels. Expansion of the Indiana Convention Center by 2011 will provide Gen Con room for expected growth.

Without the Convention Center expansion, Gen Con likely would have fled for a new home, according to local convention officials.

“Expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and future increases in our downtown hotel inventory were crucial components in achieving this extension with Gen Con,” ICVA President Don Welsh said.

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