Gen Con celebrated its 50th convention with its ninth consecutive year of record turnstile attendance, reaching 207,979, an approximate 4% increase over 2016. The convention also sold out of all attendee badges prior to the show for the first time in its 50-year history. For the third consecutive year, Gen Con targeted an approximate attendance of 60,000 unique attendees.
“Our team is thrilled to continue setting new records,” said Adrian Swartout, Gen Con CEO. “We made a decision early in planning Gen Con 50 to optimize the attendee experience while still continuing to grow the convention to new attendance levels,” “By adding the field level of Lucas Oil Stadium, improving space planning, and carefully restructuring attendance thresholds by badge type, we realized record gains, while maintaining a world-class experience for attendees.”
Marking the convention’s first year utilizing the field level of Lucas Oil Stadium, Gen Con 50 also is notable for the convention’s first usage of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which featured a concert by Grammy winning recording artists They Might Be Giants. This concert set a record as Gen Con’s largest single event in its 50-year history, surpassing 5,500 tickets sold. Gen Con’s further expansion into Lucas Oil Stadium allowed for growth of its 24-hour games library, additional event space, and a special museum exhibition that highlighted 50 years of gaming history and artifacts.
“Gen Con 50 was an epic experience for its attendees and for the city of Indianapolis,” said Leonard Hoops, president and CEO, Visit Indy. “It’s been wonderful to be part of Gen Con’s growth over the past 15 years here into a $73 million event for Central Indiana. We look forward to hosting it for many years to come. Congratulations to Adrian Swartout, David Hoppe, Peter Adkison, and everyone on the Gen Con team for a fantastic golden anniversary celebration.”
This year’s convention featured approximately 500 exhibitors, over 19,000 ticketed events, and more than $26,000 raised for local charity partner Child Advocates. This initial estimated sum pushes Gen Con’s aggregate charitable contribution to more than a quarter million dollars since moving to Indianapolis.
“Child Advocates was so excited to be the official charity partner of Gen Con 50,” said Cynthia K. Booth, Executive Director of Child Advocates, Inc. “Our excitement gave way to true appreciation as we realized how Gen Con attendees took our mission to heart: a safe and permanent home for our children. Many children’s lives will be forever changed by Gen Con’s generosity.”
“Gen Con 50 proved to be one of the most remarkable and enjoyable events of our year, but that’s no surprise,” said Paizo Publisher Erik Mona. “The real surprise this year was that even though the show keeps adding more and more attendees, it never felt ‘too’ busy or crowded thanks to expansion into Lucas Oil Stadium and other venues throughout downtown. Here’s to 50 more years of Gen Con. Heck, let’s make it 100!” Gen Con will return to Indianapolis August 2-5, 2018.
About Gen Con
Gen Con LLC produces the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, science fiction, and adventure game convention in North America, Gen Con, The Best Four Days in Gaming!™. Acquired in 2002 by former CEO and founder of Wizards of the Coast, Peter Adkison, the company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Celebrating 50 years in 2017, Gen Con 50 was sponsored by Mayfair Games, Paizo, Inc., and Rio Grande Games.