Indianapolis Officials Say Too Soon To Determine RFRA's Long-Term Effect On Conventions

Jul 16, 2015

Credit Steve Baker / https://www.flickr.com/photos/littlebiglens/

Wednesday‘s announcement of a nine-year commitment from the Future Farmers of America, or FFA, is Indianapolis‘s first big score in the convention market since the religious-freedom controversy.

But officials say they need more data before they can assess whether the RFRA storm has passed.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard says he believes the city and state have taken the right steps to prevent more damage, with legislators following RFRA with a bill declaring it can‘t be used to justify discrimination.

But while wooing the FFA away from Louisville is a big win -- with 64-thousand delegates, it‘s expected to be Indy‘s largest convention next year -- Ballard says the city can‘t judge its standing based on one convention.

"We did a lot of good in the short term but we always have to be aware of the long-term," says Ballard. "I think that's what we're looking at right now, to make sure that the relationships remain strong and that people are still talking to us."

Visit Indy‘s James Wallis agrees it‘s too soon to draw any conclusions.

He says the convention bureau will check the city‘s batting average at year‘s end to see how many of the conventions it pursued actually ended up in Indy and how that compares to past years.