By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
The rally held with former President Donald Trump in May was one the biggest events in the history of Casper’s Ford Wyoming Center, according to its manager.
“It was a very very good day for us,” Brad Murphy told Cowboy State Daily.
Murphy would not reveal the exact amount of money the center made with the the event because Trump’s Save America PAC, the event’s organizer, asked that the information not be disclosed.
He did say the event brought in revenue comparable to large concerts the venue has hosted in the past for big name artists such as Elton John and Eric Church. The event was also the largest the arena has hosted since Spectra Venue Management took over running the space in 2016, he said.
Murphy also compared the revenue from the event to the income generated by two of the biggest nights of the College National Finals Rodeo, an event the facility hosts each June. Tickets for that event ranged $10 to $160.
Carter Napier, Casper city manager, said the CNFR event typically brings in around $2.5 million in revenue for the local area, even though he said it usually only draws a few thousand spectators per night.
An estimated 10,000 people attended the one-day Trump rally
“They (rally attendees) added to the hotel days for bookings, restaurants were very busy,” he said. “It resulted in a spike on the economy, even if it was a one-off event.”
Napier also declined to comment on how much money the event brought in.
Murphy said around 10,000 people attended the free Trump rally inside the area and an undetermined “large contingency” of people also watched on TV screens from outside.
Since the Ford Wyoming Center made no money off entry fees, it relied on the space rental fee and concession sales to make a profit off the event. Concession sales are a large revenue generator at entertainment facilities.
Murphy wouldn’t disclose these totals either, but said profits for this sector were also very good. During the rally, lines stretched for hundreds of feet from the stands as rally goers waited to munch on popcorn and other fare.
On the expense side, Rebekah Ladd, a spokeswoman for the Casper Police Department said police who staffed the event were paid about $32,000 in extra wages. Casper paid for $21,415 of the salaries, while another $10,000 was paid to the city through a contract with the Save America PAC.
Lines were even longer outside, as some attendees showed up more than 24 hours in advance to hear Trump and other speakers, including U.S. House candidate Harriet Hageman.
Although he said no future political events or Trump appearances have been scheduled yet, Murphy said a number of other event organizers reached out to him about using the facility to host their own events, purely because of the rally.
“It gave us national level notoriety that we don’t get very often,” Murphy said. “It puts us on the map to others by being on the national news for a day. People see that and are interested.”
Murphy also said the exposure helps curry favor with advertisers like Ford when Spectra goes back to renew its contracts.
“The advertising bang Ford got from that makes them a happy client and when they go to renew in four years, they’re going to remember that,” Murphy said.