Gen Con exploring expansion options

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Gen Con returns to Indianapolis' Convention Center today for its 47th annual convention that runs through Aug. 17.

Last year, Gen Con had more than 49,000 attendees from all 50 states and 32 different countries. It covers 600,000 square feet of the convention center.
Stacia Kirby, Gen Con spokesperson, believes Indianapolis does a great job accommodating the event.

"You've really done a great job with downtown and planning this convention center," she said. "People know the convention center, so it's turned out really well. I've seen how we use the space and it keeps getting bigger and better."

But Gen Con is getting so big that it's exploring expanding into Lucas Oil Stadium. That would take at least four years to happen. GenCon is under contract until 2020.

But what about hotel space? Rooms sold out in 17 minutes downtown.

"Hotel space is an issue, but there is not another space where it wouldn't be an issue. We have all the meeting space we need and what we've done this year is expand our suburban hotel block by partnering with Go Express shuttles to provide transportation to and from those hotels," said Adrian Swartout, Gen Con CEO.

Attendees admit it was tough to book a room.

"It was really difficult this year. There was some hiccups in the system," said Kate Andray, Michigan.

"We had a little bit of an issue but we got everything all right," said David Straubinger, New York.

"With three or four new hotel projects in the mix in future years and then looking at the next ring. Look at going out into Plainfield and deeper into Hendricks County. We believe we have enough hotel rooms to keep Gen Con meeting here. Keep them happy and keep their growth pattern into the future," said Chris Gahl, Visit Indy.

"There is not another city that has the kind of downtown that Indianapolis has. The number of connected hotels that you can walk to and it's just really vibrant. It's where we want to be," said Swartout. "We really love Indianapolis."

About Gen Con

Thursday through Saturday the Exhibit Hall is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Family Fun Day on Sunday is from 10 a.m.-4 pm.

24-hour gaming takes place at the Convention Center and at area hotels during the four-day event.

Everyone attending Gen Con must have a valid badge. A badge allows the individual entrance to the show, admittance to the Exhibit Hall, Art Show, Anime events, seminars, and any events happening in the public areas that do not require an event ticket.

Badges may be purchased up to and throughout the show or on-site.