Officials for Gen Con, one of the biggest conventions the city of Indianapolis hosts on an annual basis, expect the tabletop-gaming confab to sell out of its $110 four-day badges as soon as this week.
IBJ reported in February that Gen Con was on track to sell out after record sales in January. The four-day badges permit entry to the entire event from Thursday, Aug. 2, to Sunday, Aug 5.
Single-day badges will likely follow, a spokesman for the Seattle-based Gen Con LLC said. Single-day passes for Saturday, priced at $70, are expected to sell out prior to the opening day.
Last year, during Gen Con's 50th anniversary celebration, all four-day badges sold out by the end of July, and single-day passes sold out in the week before the event—a first in the convention's history.
Last year, Gen Con recorded 207,979 turnstile visits, a 4 percent increase over 2016. Those visits came from roughly 60,000 unique attendees.
Gen Con officials declined to specify how many four-day badges were available this year, but said that sales this year already have set a new record.
“The team has honed our operations and event planning to allow for increased attendance while still maintaining the same level of comfort for everyone as they move about the convention,” Gen Con President David Hoppe said in a media statement. “We want to allow the maximum number of attendees to experience Gen Con without diminishing the event's quality one iota.”
This year, more than 80 percent of badges sold for Gen Con will be four-day badges, according to organizers. Gen Con plans to sell limited quantities of remaining single-day badges (Thursday, Friday, and Sunday) at the Indiana Convention Center, beginning at noon on Aug. 1.
Visit Indy estimated the event's local economic impact at more than $71 million last year. Hospitality experts think the economic impact could hit $75 million this year, which would make it one of the biggest—and possibly the biggest—conventions that Indianapolis will host this year.
Hoppe said the organization will offer between 60 and 70 hours of streamed content this year on websites like Twitch and YouTube to include those who can't visit.
"We want to continue to grow, but we want to grow smartly," Hoppe said about the decision.
Gen Con has been held in Indianapolis since 2003. The organization has committed to keep the event in Indianapolis through 2022.