Trump having golden touch on Port City
Published September 7, 2011 in Saint John’s Telegraph-Journal, Page B1
Article by Natalie Stechyson
Brad LeBlanc, chief entrepreneurial officer for The Momentum Group, says the city of Saint John is already seeing financial perks from the upcoming SPARK event, where Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani will be speaking. Since the announcement, jobs have been created for seven people working directly on the event. Photo by Kâté Braydon/Telegraph-Journal.
Saint John could see around $3 million in economic spinoffs when Donald Trump visits the city next month, those involved in the event say.
The Momentum Group Inc. announced in the spring that the American business magnate, along with former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Newfoundland premier Danny Williams, would be speaking at SPARK, a motivational event in the Port City.
Event officials are expecting about 5,000 to 6,000 people to attend the Oct. 6 event at Harbour Station. And with about half of those people likely to come from out of town, they’ll need places to sleep and eat.
All told, the event “certainly could be in excess of $3 million in spinoff” for the city, said Stephen Carson, the CEO of Enterprise Saint John.
“Normally when speakers of this calibre are brought together you’d be in a major metropolitan centre – in Toronto or Boston or New York,” Carson said.
“So when they happen in a community like Saint John, it’s a tremendous boost – not only to get us on the radar screen of these major players in business, but there are direct impacts, which are the dollars and cents spent by people attending the event.”
Saint John is already seeing the economic benefits of Donald Trump’s golden touch, said Brad LeBlanc, the chief entrepreneurial officer of The Momentum Group.
“The fact that we employ seven people – we think that’s a big, big deal. Especially in these economic times,” LeBlanc said.
While LeBlanc said it’s nearly impossible to predict the total economic spinoff of the event, his last event in Moncton – the Atlantic Dream Festival – brought in about $3 million for the city.
Now it’s time for Saint John to see some benefits, LeBlanc said.
“A lot of the corporate leaders and political leaders here in Saint John came to us and said ‘listen, Saint John is tired of being overlooked as a venue for these events. It’s tired of all of the events going to Moncton and to Halifax,’” LeBlanc said. “And we were really convinced to do this.”
One of the key benefits for Saint John will be employment, LeBlanc said. Not just for those working directly on the event, but outsourced firms, law firms and “dozens and dozens” of security guards, plus an extra four bodyguards for the speakers.
There will also be the taxes from every ticket sold, speaker fees and venue rentals, LeBlanc said.
But the biggest part of an economic spinoff is the money people spend outside of the event, LeBlanc said.
“We know the event is going to have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars that we’re spending in this community, but we’re talking about millions of dollars when we’re talking about all of the other things, including air travel, hotel rooms and food.”
Tickets for SPARK range from $169 to $259 before taxes and fees. Subsidies can be arranged for students.