INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s the second largest convention in the city this year, surpassed only by NRA.
GenCon returns to Indianapolis on Thursday, for its 47th annual convention. The banners are going up, and the gamers are slowly arriving. John Osborne is already in town. “Well I plan my whole year around it. It’s kind of like nerd mecca for us,” Osborne says. Gen Con’s been calling Indianapolis home since 2003.
“Gen Con will monopolize nearly every single square inch of the expanded Indiana Convention Center,” says Visit Indy’s Chris Gahl.
While they play games here, they spend real money. Visit Indy estimates Gen Con will have a $49-million economic impact.
“They had record setting attendance with 49,000 people coming to Indianapolis last year. All signs are that that record will be broken again this year,” says Gahl.
Gen Con has filled all the downtown hotels and spread out to the suburbs. Big business for big businesses. But it’s also big business for small businesses like Downtown Comics just off Monument Circle.
“This was just released last Friday. It sells for $50. It’s a hardback book. Is it hard to sell it? Oh no, it will be sold out by the weekend,” says Doug Stephenson of Downtown Comics holding the latest players handbook for Dungeons and Dragons.
Stephenson says during Gen Con weekend he has extended hours, staying open until 10pm.
“Oh perfect fit. Yep, every year this is our busiest week of the year downtown,” he says.
One of the hot new games Gen Con gamers can’t wait to buy is called “Hero Clicks,” and Downtown Comics has it in stock.
Stepheno Chester, the European Champion of the game stopped by to see it. He says he can’t wait for the games to begin.
“For Gen Con, imagine all the things you like crunched together but ten times the size. It’s oh my goodness,” says Chester.
Gen Con is signed to 2020 for Indianapolis. But Chris Gahl says the Visit Indy team hopes to keep the gamers coming back long after that.
Gen Con officially opens Thursday. There will be events outside the convention center, including some that begin Wednesday evening on Georgia Street. For more details and how to buy tickets click here.