"Conventions are absolutely vital to our economic well-being!!!" is the kind of business development rallying cry that is heard often and everywhere. And in the conventional sense (ha!), no doubt: Each gathering of podiatrists, bondage enthusiasts or insurance adjusters can flood a city's hotels, shops and restaurants with captive consumers. It's probably the sort of image Spokanites dreamt up when they approved a tax extension for the city's convention center. Granted, there was an additional picture of the NCAA coming back to hold tournament games. But convention space was a big seller in the vote, too.
But a piece by The Atlantic is showing that even while convention space nationwide expands, conventions themselves are in decline. So, Spokane is competing harder and harder with more and more cities for fewer and fewer events.
Ruh-roh. Maybe the NCAA will begin holding year-round tourneys?