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Is It Time for These Indiana Events to Relocate?

Is It Time for These Indiana Events to Relocate?


It's not just Gen Con and the NCAA. Indiana is home to lots of major events -- or at least, it was.

With the signing of a discrimination bill in Indiana, several major events have expressed interest in moving out of state. That's a start, but there are many more that could speak out.

The NCAA has already said it could move tournaments, and gaming convention Gen Con says that it's looking at alternatives as well, though Indianapolis businesses have reportedly flooded the convention's leadership with promises not to discriminate. Salesforce has cancelled programs that require attendees to travel to Indiana, and San Francisco's mayor announced the city will not spend taxpayer money on travel to the state.

They're far from alone.

The Disciples of Christ issued a letter condemning the new law: "It is causing us to reconsider our decision to hold our 2017 gathering in Indianapolis." Past Disciples of Christ conventions are estimated to have a $6 million impact on the state.

Kiwanis International has also expressed dismay at the law. The group's 100th anniversary is scheduled for this June, with a celebration in Indianapolis, where the organization is headquartered.

Who else might speak out? Numerous sporting, cultural, and professional events have yet to weigh in, along with companies that invest heavily in the state.

There's the Indy 500, a yearly festival of fast cars driving in circles that draws a half million people. It might be hard to separate the event from the state, since it's named for the state capital. But sponsors and drivers could certainly reverse course, rather than participate.

Human-powered races or their sponsors could quit the state as well. The OneAmerica 500 is a yearly half-marathon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It's part of a festival televised on NBC, and sponsored by major companies like Gatorade, UPS, Verizon, Pepsi, and Hilton.

There are numerous other sporting events centered in Indiana: USA Gymnastics holds a championship this year; the Big Ten game is coming up; the NFL holds a scouting event in Indiana; and USA Diving is slated to hold Olympic team trials there in 2016.

Cultural events might feel the pressure as well. The Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival is the oldest of its kind in the world. This year's is coming up in June, but will the 2016 festival relocate to Kentucky?

Creative-types look forward to MuseCon, a gathering for artists and inventors.

Indiana also hosts several major anime, sci-fi, and fantasty conventions, including EvilleCon, InConJunction, Kamikon, Kokomo-Con, and Ramencon. And numerous concert tours pass through the state. Coming up are appearances by Flo Rida, Kelly Clarkson, Third Eye Blind, Rascal Flatts, Shania Twain, Tyler the Creator, Seether, Ja Rule, Reel Big Fish, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, John Fogerty, and Audra McDonald -- who has said she'll donate any money she makes in the state to the Human Rights Campaign.

Other major events associated with Indiana include Indy Popcon, a celebration in nerd culture; Star Wars Celebration, a semi-regular official event for fans that moved to Anaheim for 2015, and now might not return to Indiana; Stabase Indy, a Star Trek convention; and the Future Farmers of America Convention, which moved to Kentucky a few years ago and now might be reluctant to ever come back.

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Matt Baume