Gen Con appeared to be maxing out the available space at the Indianapolis Convention center this year, with 61,000 attendees (see “Gen Con Up 9%”).  We looked at some of the issues that indicate stress points and some of the ways Gen Con organizers are reacting (see “Gen Con Nearing Limits of Indianapolis”).

Here we talk to Gen Con Senior Marketing Manager Jake Theis about the space issues and potential solutions, including using more space in adjacent hotels and an expansion of the Indianapolis Convention Center.

What is the capacity of the [Convention Center] building?
That’s unclear, actually. One of the challenges with Gen Con is balancing what’s going on in the convention center with what’s happening at participating hotels and different event areas. As the event’s expanding we’re consistently looking for places to grow around Indianapolis so the convention center isn’t bearing the brunt of the entire show. 

Are you close (to being at capacity)?
We don’t know.

So you’re just going to keep growing until it gets too full?
No, we have a good sense of if traffic is moving consistently, the amount of available event space that we can fill up and get people into playing events off the show floor.

There’s so much going on outside the exhibit floor, that’s not even the key variable.
It’s sort of a balance. We’re at a record number of exhibitors this year. We’re at 412 exhibitors which is an increase of about 30 to 40 more than last year.  It’s an expansion of the exhibit hall and getting people to essentially check out some of the new gaming products and be able to buy those, and then also to take them and play them and try them out in new areas.

Local press  has talked about expanding the convention center just to keep Gen Con. You’re here through 2020, right?
That’s correct.

Is there any serious talk about expanding the convention center in the city?
Those discussions have actually begun and we’ve talked to Visit Indie.

Is there land?
That, I’m not sure.  In terms of potential space to grow, just seeing the amount of renovation that they’ve done to downtown Indianapolis, with Lucas Oil coming online and Georgia Street expansion, it seems that Indianapolis’ ability to find interesting new space in the downtown is something that they’re very terrific at.

Click here for the overview article on Gen Con’s Indianapolis space issues.