INDIANAPOLIS — A major annual convention in Indianapolis was canceled amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Gen Con organizers made the announcement Thursday, citing safety and health of attendees, exhibitors, and staff.
“Gen Con is the highlight of our year, and we know that it means as much to our attendees, exhibitors, event organizers, and local partners as it does to us. But after carefully monitoring the situation and having ongoing conversations with experts and local government officials, it became clear that the only responsible option was to cancel the convention for this year.”David Hoppe, GenCon president
Organizers say the annual convention is the largest and longest-running tabletop gaming convention in North America. The event brings thousands of visitors to the Indianapolis area.
Chris Gahl, the senior vice president of Visit Indy, says the tourism industry has been greatly impacted by the pandemic. While they have been able to salvage a few conventions, the Gen Con cancelation marks the loss of the city’s largest convention.
We know this was a very thoughtful decision they made and announced today that they just didn’t feel bringing together 70,000 attendees from 40 different countries in early August was the right thing to do and so we support them ultimately. While it stings to lose the city’s largest convention, we are very very supportive and we’re also very understanding. We want the long-term health of Gen Con to be what’s in focus now.Chris Gahl, senior vice president, Visit Indy
In 2019, Gen Con generated more than $74 million in economic impact for the city. Visit Indy formed a tourism recovery task force, working to understad when it is safe to open and how they will open.
People who bought badges for the convention will be able to have them converted for the 2021 event. However, people can request a refund.
To give people something to do, Gen Con organizers are hosting a virtual convention during the original dates of the convention. From July 30 through August 2, people can attend virtual programming.