Gen Con reports record attendance for downtown gaming bash

Organizers of the Gen Con gaming convention held last Thursday through Sunday downtown say the event broke attendance records in its 16th year in Indianapolis and 51st overall.

Event officials counted a record 223,326 turnstile visits, a 9 percent increase from 2017. The figure is a raw accounting of people who attended Gen Con over the four days, including repeat attendees. For example, someone who attended all four days would count as four turnstile visits.

Those visits came from “substantially more” than 60,000 unique attendees, organizers said. The number of unique attendees also was a record, but organizers declined to be more specific. They also said attendees also bought a record number of four-day badges for the event, but did not provide an exact accounting.

Gen Con, consistently one of the biggest convention events of the year for downtown Indianapolis, takes place in the Indianapolis Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium.

“By any metric, Gen Con 2018 was an enormous success,” said David Hoppe, president of event producer Gen Con LLC. “We’re proud that while substantially more than 60,000 unique attendees were on-site over four days, the feedback from customers, sponsors, and exhibitors was that we provided a smoothly-run show and top-notch customer experience.”

Gen Con also set high marks for philanthropy in 2018, raising more than $50,000 for charity partners—The Jack Vasel Memorial Fund and Second Helpings—through multiple on-site events. Since moving to Indy in 2003, Gen Con has raised more than $300,000 for charities.

This year’s convention featured more than 520 game companies, which also was a record, organizers said.

Gen Con debuted a block party for the public this year that spanned the Georgia Street outdoor event space and included neighboring South Street. It feartured more than 60 food trucks, as well as stationary food and beverage vendors, and concerts by the bands Local H and Brother O’ Brother.

Gen Con will return to Indianapolis Aug. 1-4, 2019. Officials have an agreement to hold it here at least through 2021.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.