Pokemon Go having economic impact, as groups like Visit Indy pay to cash in on craze

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Visit Indy is already seeing a big increase in visitors to downtown Indianapolis playing Pokemon Go, and now it's looking to cash in on the craze.

The group will start buying online ad space, in part to promote its article covering popular Pokemon Go spots downtown.

Anyone who's been in the Circle City over the past week and a half will notice huge increases in foot traffic, day and night. Many people are coming from outlying areas, which is surely giving the city an economic boost.

"I think it’s a huge asset to have this game and (it's) really encouraging people to explore," Visit Indy's Digital Marketing Manager Christine Zetzl said.

Businesses and other groups are looking to cash in, too. Some are buying lures through the app, which draw more Pokemon to your location, and thus more players.

The Indianapolis Public Library will host a "Lure Day" on Saturday downtown, and at other branch locations. They'll drop lures and even plan to offer charging stations for dying phone batteries.

"It’s probably a demographic that doesn’t really use the library much, so we want to connect with that group and say, 'Hey, we’re here, and we also care about what you care about,'" Director of Communications Kimberly Crowder said. "How can you ignore what’s going on?"

As to how much of the action translates to sales, Visit Indy has not estimated economic impact from the game, but does say that it is looking towards Gen Con in early August as another huge boost.

"The goal is to get more people to our website and ultimately to our city. ... We want them to see all these key attractions where they might collect Pokemon and then might stay," Zetzl said.

This weekend will also be a noticeable attraction, as thousands of players are expected to attend a Pokemon Go meet-up in White River State Park. The gathering is so big that organizers had to apply for a permit with the city.

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