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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana will put more money behind efforts to attract conventions and sports events.

Governor Holcomb has signed the bill creating a statewide sports and tourism bid fund. The Indiana Sports Corporation will use the fund to help Indiana compete for events with other states.

Andy Mallon heads the Capital Improvement Board, which oversees the Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium, and Gainbridge Fieldhouse. He says big Indianapolis events like the NCAA basketball tournament have historically relied on private contributions and local organizing committees, but as Indy attracts more events, it becomes harder to keep going back to the well.

And Mallon notes other states and cities aren’t standing still. The bid fund brings Indiana closer to a level playing field with states which are already backing their bids with state cash.

Indy will be the biggest beneficiary of the fund, but Westfield, Fort Wayne and Evansville all lobbied for it. The new law requires 30% of the money be spent outside Indianapolis.

Money for the fund won’t be allocated till next year, when legislators write a new state budget. Mallon says there are plenty of events already in the pipeline until then — conventions and sports events are booked anywhere from two to 10 years in advance.