The long-term future of Indianapolis’ largest annual convention may depend on just how big the event wants to get. The economic impact of Gen Con, the mega gaming gathering that just completed a four-day run in Indy, is pegged at more than $70 million. But its future in the Circle City has been in question in the wake of last spring’s RFRA controversy. In an interview on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business Television, Visit Indy Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hoops said Gen Con’s future in the city beyond 2020 is about capacity. "I think our amendment to the (RFRA) law really effectively addressed that and Indianapolis continues to have a great human rights ordinance for protections," said Hoops. "It’s really a question about growth for Gen Con… can we handle their growth versus a city with more convention center space and more hotel rooms."
This was the 49th edition of the Gen Con event, and the 14th consecutive year Indianapolis has been the host city. Hoops says the impact of the event has doubled in the last seven years.
Hoops says the issue of space is being addressed in the city’s tourism master plan, which is being put together to provide a "comprehensive tourism roadmap" leading to 2020 and beyond.
"Right now we are really focused on the addition of some ballroom space in the convention center as the most likely next step," said Hoops. "But we are also looking at some (additional) rooms in the immediate vicinity of the convention center."
In this weekend’s interview Hoops talked about the future of Gen Con, the potential for another convention center expansion and the impact of additional nonstop flights on the city’s convention business.